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Old 01-26-2019, 08:40 PM   #1
2MilitaryVet
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RV Show Or Dealer

My wife and I both have recently retired from the Air force. We have done a lot of vacations out of the States and now have decided to tour the States full time in a 5th wheel. I already have a Chevy 3500 which we have used to pull our 4 horse gooseneck trailer to state shows and will probably be using it for now.

The reason I am posting is to ask if it would be better to purchase a 5th Wheel Camper from an RV show or from a dealer? We have gone to several RV shows and at our first show we fell in love with the camper that had the living room up front, kitchen in the middle and bedroom in the back. They had a huge discount on it but we were not ready to purchase at that time. We are now ready to purchase and have gone to other shows but have yet found the great deals we found at the first show. We even went to the same show 6 months later and they didn’t even have any we liked as well as no huge discounts.

If a RV show is the place to purchase a camper, which shows are the best? We missed one last weekend in Tampa that we were told was one of the largest. If there is another one that is as good, we would be willing to travel. We were looking at one of the largest campers because we want to be comfortable but we are hearing a lot of people saying we will miss a lot of state parks because our camper will be too big. I know that is true, but if you have any other advice as to counter that it would be great to hear.

Thank you to any of you that have taken the time to read my post and to provide any feedback

Anthony and Renee
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:17 PM   #2
Hanr3
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Hard to say. we went to shows to get an idea of what we liked and didn't like. Then I started researching each brands to find the configuration we liked. Once I narrowed down the list, I looked to see where they were sold, both shows and dealers. Generally, dealers don't want to drag the product home and will give a good discount so they don't have to drag it back to the lot.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:29 PM   #3
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Don't know about best' way to purchase, but most of the states list the length of the sites, and you can fit a 40' fiver in a lot of them. We have a 40' fiver and haven't missed out on any place we WANT to go.
The last 'good deal' will come around again, or maybe even a better one. Have you considered finding the one you liked in a use unit? Check at RVtrader.com for lots of available models/pricing.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:37 PM   #4
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Anthony, thank you both for your service from a fully Marine Corps family. I don't believe that most RV shows are priced much better than the big dealers price their units every day. Car dealers use the exact same gimmicks. Shop around and let your salesman know what YOU will pay, not what he'll sell it for.
Tampa show is ever so slightly bigger than the Hershey show, about 4 acres and 75 units bigger. They are both so big that you can't begin to see everything anyway.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:41 PM   #5
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Anthony welcome form a Army Vet 68-69. By what floorplan you like sounds like that might be a Montana. No matter what manufacture check online to see who sells those in your area. New should be 30% off MSRP. Check to see if any lightly used. Will save big $$ on those. Our 2011 DRV MSRP new was $108k. Got it for 38% off that OTD
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:14 PM   #6
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Hard to say. we went to shows to get an idea of what we liked and didn't like. Then I started researching each brands to find the configuration we liked. Once I narrowed down the list, I looked to see where they were sold, both shows and dealers. Generally, dealers don't want to drag the product home and will give a good discount so they don't have to drag it back to the lot.
I was under the impression that the dealer that was at this show was taking order for them. I believe they had the manufacturer with them. But I am not sure... we were too new at looking back then.

Thanks for the reply

Anthony and Renee
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:18 PM   #7
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Don't know about best' way to purchase, but most of the states list the length of the sites, and you can fit a 40' fiver in a lot of them. We have a 40' fiver and haven't missed out on any place we WANT to go.
The last 'good deal' will come around again, or maybe even a better one. Have you considered finding the one you liked in a use unit? Check at RVtrader.com for lots of available models/pricing.
That is good news, as there are a lot of places we want to go. Looking at maybe staying at a place for a few weeks and then move on. BUT we will see, what I think we want to do and what we might end up doing could be two different things.

We haven't really considered getting a used one as we are too afraid of getting someone else's junk. With how many problems people have said they had with their new one, I would hate to see the problems with an old one.

Thanks for the reply

Anthony and Renee
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:44 PM   #8
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Sounds like this will be your first RV is that right? So is your Chevy a SRW or dully.
Do you know the tow rating. You need to know those things before you get your 5th wheel. If you don't let us know your year, engine & cab configuration. Quite a few of us know where to get the tow rating and such.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:14 PM   #9
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Anthony, that is VERY good advice you've just gotten from MTK. Entirely too many people buy their TV first (usually a 3/4 ton) thinking it will pull that Montana around by the nose no problem. Not a good idea. Thanks to MTK for bringing that to light.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:14 PM   #10
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Sounds like this will be your first RV is that right? So is your Chevy a SRW or dully.
Do you know the tow rating. You need to know those things before you get your 5th wheel. If you don't let us know your year, engine & cab configuration. Quite a few of us know where to get the tow rating and such.
Wasn't going to do the actual purchase until I got the truck fully loaded with everyone (including Johnny Cash our great dane), suitcases, fuel etc... But always good to get a good start. My truck is a 2014 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab, long bed, Dully K3500 with a Duramax 6.6 HD, and Allison Transmission. The GVWR is 13025, GAWR FRT is 5600 and rear is 9375.
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:44 AM   #11
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Your Chevy ratings are close to the same as my 14 F-350. You shouldn't have any problem towing what ever 5th wheel you decide on. Good luck on you search.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:30 PM   #12
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Your Chevy ratings are close to the same as my 14 F-350. You shouldn't have any problem towing what ever 5th wheel you decide on. Good luck on you search.
Thanks for looking after this newbie Mike... I still have a lot to learn. Still looking for that great deal but my boss just threw a wrench into our plan. I am a contractor at the base and my boss just offered me a GS12 direct hire position. I will probably continue to look for my camper, sell the Florida house, keeping the San Antonio one as a rental and move the trailer and horses down to the base. Still not giving up on the camper life and will be on the road still within the next three years. Will live out of it until we leave.


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Old 01-31-2019, 12:27 PM   #13
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Anthony congratulations on the job. Keep us in the loop with any other questions you have on your 5th wheel search. Oh & what base are you referring to?
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:30 PM   #14
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Anthony congratulations on the job. Keep us in the loop with any other questions you have on your 5th wheel search. Oh & what base are you referring to?
We are at Eglin AFB in Fort Walton Beach Fl
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:41 PM   #15
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We are at Eglin AFB in Fort Walton Beach Fl
Hey Anthony, thanks for your service. Your new job may be a blessing in disguise. Use those years to research, research, research. I took over a year to finally decide what to buy. Go beyond the floor plan. If youíre going to live in it be sure itís built to withstand daily use. Some manufacturers will not warranty their units for full time use. Thereís a red flag for ya!
Set your truck aside for awhile and start from the beginning. Look at motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels before you count any of them out. And look from the bottom up. The frame, the chassis, the axles, the wall construction, the roof, the slides, the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Go to shows and hang out in them. Imagine life in one. Will it bother you to look at a steering wheel every day? Can my wife and I bathe and get ready every day in this bathroom? Can I store everything I need and can I actually cook all my meals in this kitchen? etc.
Donít take the dealers word on anything. Pepper us with questions, ask other owners, etc. Go to RV parks and walk around. Ask anyone you see why they bought their rig and what they like about it. We love to talk about our houses on wheels.
One more thing. Donít exceed any of the manufacturers weight ratings. They are on there for a reason, safe operation of the vehicle.
Phil
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:56 PM   #16
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From an Air Force brat, thank you both for your service!! Sounds like your boss knows a good thing when he sees it!!!
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:21 AM   #17
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Cedar Creek Daydreamer 42í

Hi Anthony, first that you and your wife for you years of dedicated service to our Nation. I am a 72 year old Vietnam Veteran who served in the Marines as a crew chief on a Huey. I have read you pist and I just wanted to tell you as a owner of a 42 ft fifth wheel who has traveled a lot we seldom had problems finding parks that could not handle our size rv. We do use RV Park Reviews first to determine the type of facility we want to stay at.
At this time I have mine offered for-sale because we want to now do international travels. I have a link to my camper if youíre interested in looking at it and I can only tell you its like new and made with all solid maple cabinetry.
We still use it and are planning a trip down south bext month. You can e-mail me at cnacc@optonline.net and I can give you more detail about it and our travels with it.
Best regards
Charles
https://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/rvs/d/highland-42-fifth-wheel-luxury-camper/6784332826.html
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:03 PM   #18
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Anthony,
To you and your wife much thanks for your service, and well deserved retirement. And now on your new work position which is great to build up credits for the second retirement check, or in your case third.
San Antonio, is where I got out of the USAF in 1976 Randolph AFB.

Now I just bought our first 5th wheel after doing research, and shows for a couple years went with Forest River Silverback as it is only my wife and I we did not want extra bunks, so this will fit us very well big enough to live in short enough for a newbie to tow.
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