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Old 07-20-2006, 06:23 AM   #1
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Fellow RVers,

I will soon be able to spend as much time as I want RVing. I used to pull a travel trailer but have been at a stationary lake site for the last few years but the crowds have ruined my enjoyment there and I would like to either semi or full time it. A lot of people have advised me to get a 5th wheel, that they are so much better than a travel trailer. I'm sure that there must be many full timers out there in travel trailers who can give me some advice so I can make a better decision on what I want to get for my adventures. I know there are thousands of Airstreams out there so TT can't be as bad as my 5er friends think.
First, I am well aware of the issue of having the right size TV to do the job. My safety questions concern towing a TT on our interstates where semi-trucks become an issue. Are TT stable when passed by this type traffic or is sway a real issue? Is towing a TT have anymore safety concerns than a 5er?
I'm sure hitches have improved over the years, what are the better ones?
Livability - Maybe some of you have lived in both a 5er and a TT - any comparisons?
Any suggestions or recommendations so I can be more informed will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:23 AM   #2
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Fellow RVers,

I will soon be able to spend as much time as I want RVing. I used to pull a travel trailer but have been at a stationary lake site for the last few years but the crowds have ruined my enjoyment there and I would like to either semi or full time it. A lot of people have advised me to get a 5th wheel, that they are so much better than a travel trailer. I'm sure that there must be many full timers out there in travel trailers who can give me some advice so I can make a better decision on what I want to get for my adventures. I know there are thousands of Airstreams out there so TT can't be as bad as my 5er friends think.
First, I am well aware of the issue of having the right size TV to do the job. My safety questions concern towing a TT on our interstates where semi-trucks become an issue. Are TT stable when passed by this type traffic or is sway a real issue? Is towing a TT have anymore safety concerns than a 5er?
I'm sure hitches have improved over the years, what are the better ones?
Livability - Maybe some of you have lived in both a 5er and a TT - any comparisons?
Any suggestions or recommendations so I can be more informed will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:48 AM   #3
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Mike

In case nobody has yet, let me say howdy and welcome to iRV2.com. Yours is a very interesting topic and you should get some good input.

I don't fulltime (yet - next year) so I can't comment yet on that aspect. I own a 5er and would be biased that way. However, while most fulltimers are in Class A MH's or 5ers, there is no reason why you couldn't be as comfortable in a TT. Having towed both, I am more comfortable towing a 5er. I don't feel the trucks as much. But again, TT towing technology has advanced greatly the last few years. Blue-Ox has some very nice setups for TT's.

Good luck in your search for info. I am sure you will get a lot here.


BTW - I've created a link in the FullTimer forum to your query so your question can get better exposure.
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:39 PM   #4
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Hi Mike
You are doing the right thing asking ???? for you have a gazillion choices.Me being a fifth wheel guy also has made me rethink next purchase. I have never wanted or owned a 2-story home but have lived upstaris years back. My set up is a rear door which is 4,5 or 6 steps to the living rm depending on the site, 2 more up bath, 1 more bed. I am 45 with a shot knee.If your entrance is infront or your lead axle this distance will seldom change at parks in texas. Fifth wheel or hitch pull Keep the dust on ya boot
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Old 07-21-2006, 06:26 AM   #5
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Mike
I can't help you with the full timing issue but I have some opinions on towing. The 5er will handle better than a TT in most cases unless you use a rather spendy hitch such as the Pullrite. I think most RVs have inadequate tire capacity for good handling at GVWR. They tend to use tires rated to carry the GVWR minus the hitch/pin weight at max tire presssure. Our TT runs about 1400lbs under the GVWR when loaded and towing with the dully it doesn't get pushed around by the big trucks. When I towed it with the 3/4T PU it did. There is someting to be said for size, weight and more tires on TV. Power isn't every thing.
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Old 07-22-2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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We fultime in a 31 foot TT now.

It has been adequate, but we are in the middle of a deal to move up to a DP. I choose a TT for a few reasons, one being I was limtied by my 3/4 ton truck, which can pull a bigger TT than a 5ver.

I will say this, and most likely get flamed, but a properly set up combination will handle about the same. Yes there are differences, and the 5th wheel is a bit more of a no brainer to set up correctly, and it is obious when it isn't set right. Our combination pulls well. We use a standard WD hitch, and do not have a need for any sway control.

My last unit was a 5th wheel, it was OK, but I dind't think it pulled any better than my previous trailer, or this current trailer. One of the biggest reasons we went back to a trailer was we wanted our truck bed back for storage. Once your a fulltimer you will master the art of what we call the "Full-timer Shuffle".

Trailers also tend to be less expensive, and if you want anything close to higher line you will most likely have to order it, and when you want out of it expect to take a bath, most people will not pay extra for the options that full-timers need, like Thermo Pane windows, and extra insulation.

All that said, our unit has served us well. It is a bit shy on storage space, but we have made it thourgh a NYC winter, and a blazing hot STL summer with no real problems.

J&D
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Old 07-23-2006, 02:11 PM   #7
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I can't speak from the full timing perspective, but I can say that the reason we chose a travel trailer over a 5th wheel, is the need for storage in the bed of the truck. I have a 60 gallon auxilary diesel fuel tank, carry two trailer spare tires, a toolbox, a blue tote tank, two 6 gallon water jugs, and a Honda EU3000 generator. All of this is covered by a ARE fiberglass topper, which also provides security for the above items. I find that my Chevy 2500HD/Duramax is an excellent tow vehicle, and can't even tell when tractor trilers are passing me (I drive 65mph on the interstate, so have lots of them passing me). Whatever your decision, consider ordering from the dealer as opposed to buying one off the lot. Options such as extra insulation, shock absorbers, tinted or thermopane windows, 10 gallon water heaters, etc are not always found on lot models. Good luck with your choice.
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Old 08-19-2006, 08:16 PM   #8
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If you are only one person storage shouldn't be a problem in a TT. Two, doubles(at least) the "stuff" to be stowed away. Fifth wheel RVs usually have at least double the storage space. This is the only valid reason I can think of why I prefer a 5th wheel instead of a TT. I've lived/traveled in a class A, a truck camper, two TT's, and two 5er's.
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Old 08-19-2006, 09:09 PM   #9
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ahhh once again the great TT vs 5er debate. I am not full timing, but have run into many in the campgrounds. I once camped next to three couples traveling together two had 5ers and one had a nice Airstream. He was towing it with a large van. The van was the only vehicle big enough to hold all three couples for sightseeing etc.

One more quick point of difference is in bedroom heights. In order to get a standup bedroom in a 5er you have a huge frontal area on the unit. A standup bedroom in a TT is normal. There are also more floorplan choices in TTs than 5ers.
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Old 08-20-2006, 06:50 AM   #10
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one large problem with 5th wheels is overhead clearance. Some cities like Chicago have many low clearances. Even campgrounds will have low hanging limbs. Enjoy whatever you get.
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:16 AM   #11
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There is more than one kind of overhead clearance. How tall are you?

As a weekend warrior/vacationer one can accept the low ceiling heights and head-knockers in units with low ceiling height (this includes TTs, 5ers, class Cs and motorhomes). As a fulltimer this will be your home 365 days a year. Those little annoyances you can tolerate for a weekend getaway or a two week vacation suddenly become much bigger issues. 5ers are about your only choice if you want residential style head room (in a towable).

If I were of a size that I could walk through a TT without having to duck or dodge, I think I would serously think about getting one for my fulltiming. My tipping point would probably be the analysis of storage and carrying capacity of a 5er vs. low profile/better fuel economy of a TT.
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Old 08-20-2006, 05:34 PM   #12
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Ok I gotta chime in on this one. A TT will have a measurement from the tip of the tongue to the tip of the bumper. So a 30 foot TT in reality will have liveable space of about 26 feet. You will get a flat floor from end to end, so if mobility is an issue this is a plus. Also the entry can be lower to the ground. Notice I said CAN. This is important because if you have a slide out it will go up in the air higher. Also you can probably tow a larger, read heavier, TT with a given size truck due to the fact there is not as much load placed on the tow vehicle.
Fifth wheels are measured from the tip of the hitch to the end of the bumper. So in a fiver you can loose about 8 to 12 inches for the hitch if you have an extended pin box. So your 30 foot fiver will have in reality 29 plus feet of livable space. Now what in my opinion is the great advantage of a fiver is , the length on the road. Your example 30 foot TT will have 30 feet behind the truck, while your 30 foot fiver will only have about 20 to 24 feet behind the truck. Remember part of your living space is in the overhead. Fivers will usually require more truck to pull them due to the extra weight placed over the rear axle. In a fiver you will have stairs to climb to get to the bedroom/bathroom. Is that a problem?
Hopefully I have given you some more information to chew on in making your decisions.
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