View Full Version : Newbie couple needs suggestions on a budget please

03-03-2010, 12:01 PM
Hi we are Ron and Kathy in Mesa Arizona. We are wanting to eventually full time around the country together. But we will work doing what ever we need to do to support ourselves to make a dream a reality.
Our question is we are on a budget and just cant afford high end units like we would like to but realize we will make that sacrafice to do what we want to do. We will be looking in a price range of 20-25 thousand for a 5th wheel.

Can any of you give any suggestions on what may be workable for us? We do not need a large unit we are happy to just do this. We want a unit that will be capable of staying cool in summer thou and can tollerate cooler temps to now fridgid but cold if we happen to be in that from time to time.

So any help from experienced people will be appreciated. We now we will sacrafice some of the finer things but as long as we have a bed, kitchen, bathroom, small living room we will be happy together.

Thank you
Ron and Kathy

03-03-2010, 02:51 PM
Ron, thats a good question, how soon are you planning on buying? I have a new Heartland cyclone toyhauler and the dealer I purchased from had a closeout on some Heartland Big Country and Elk Ridge 5th wheels, these are a step behind the Heartland Bighorn and would make a good starter 5th wheel thats well above the entry and mid price models. The contact info is your interested in seeing if they have any left and for general info is as follows, Hope you find what your looking for!!
www.lakeshore-rv.com, we worked with mark and his direct line is 801 430 1921.

03-03-2010, 03:12 PM
Thanks for the reply but we are not in the market just yet to buy but gathering info for future use. I will be a good six month to a year. We just are wanting to get all the info we can together to make an educated guess on what will fit our bill in our budget.

Ron and Kathy

03-03-2010, 08:28 PM
I would suggest that you begin to look at different floorplans in the size you think you will settle for. Once you find a livable plan, then, based on the price you are mentioning, you may want to look for a really nice clean used model that has the initial depreciation off--that way you can maybe get a lot more trailer for the buck.
And be sure to look up what your truck can pull so you don't overload it.
Good luck--with enough patience, you will eventually find the near-perfect trailer.

03-03-2010, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the reply again. We are actually looking at 27 to 29 foot range. We have looked at a lot of them and the size with one or two slides will get us what we want.
We have not purchased a truck yet but are looking at a 3/4 ton most likely
so do you have any suggestions on brands that are better over others in our price range? We just dont know enought to be educated and what year range would you suggest also.

Thank you again
Ron and Kathy

03-04-2010, 10:26 AM
Most any newer 3/4T truck will fit your needs. If you are buying used, then you just have to do the homework to know if it was taken care of correctly. If you look at a Ford, and are shopping at a Ford dealer, insist on an OASIS readout to see what has been done by any Ford shop on that vehicle--other mfgs may have that type record also. A Carfax MAY or MAY NOT have everything you need to know.
And you will be happier with a diesel in the long-term--

03-04-2010, 10:45 AM
Thanks for the truck info but what I was asking about is 5th wheels lol.
Do you have any suggestions on makes models brands etc in our price range years etc. We know nothing at all so its like a blind person looking at them.
We want one that will last at least five years provided of course we take care of it and fix things as they need it. We will work here and there but no ultra extreme cold on purpose but may be in some desert heat possibly. So any thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again
Ron and Kathy

03-04-2010, 12:16 PM
You do realize that the tow vehicle requirements and the trailer situation are going to be linked together. Thinking about the truck is something you should be doing just as you are looking at trailers.

A critical item to consider for the tow vehicle is not the length of the trailer but the weight. Do not get caught in the empty vs loaded or max weight issue. The weight you need to consider is the max or GVW (gross vehicle weight) of the trailer as no one tows an empty trailer to use, especially full time. Keep the weight capacity of the truck in mind when looking at the trailer.

A very general towing capacity rule of thumb is this.

Half ton truck, about 7000 lbs max.
3/4 ton truck about 10 to 13,000 lbs max.
1 ton truck about 12,000 to 17,000 lbs max.

Yup there will be trucks in each of those categories that have less or more towing capacity based on all of the ways they are equipped but those are ball park figures to consider. If you are at a RV dealer and the salesman says you can pull anything with a 3/4 ton, leave. He's lying just to get your money.

Fulltimers generally go for the longer trailers for a couple reasons. You need room to stretch around inside when stuck indoors due to weather conditions and you will be carrying your "stuff" (tools clothes hobby stuff and so on) since that is now your HOME.

That means a decent sized basement for storage and a reasonable cargo carrying capacity for all your stuff. That is weight of materials you will be loading into the rig to use while living in it. That also includes a minor item like fresh water tank capacity as well as black and grey tank capacity.

Do NOT overload the trailer (and or truck) as it will end up causing you tire failures, suspension problems and lots of expensive repairs. Keep in mind that once you get the load going you will have to be able to stop it as well.

A fifth wheel trailer will provide the most room, cargo capacity and towing ease than a bumper pull or travel trailer will. That will require a long bed truck and 5th wheel hitch. There's that pesky truck requirement stuff again.

Look at the various dealers in your area. Get names of brands of trailers and look them up on line. You will be able to access floor plans and pics of the units on the manufacturers or dealers web sites. Look at as many brands and models of units as you physically can. Being there in person will tell you more about how the unit "feels" inside than any number of pictures. Slides are heavy but without them you have far less resell options and far less room inside the rig.

Figure on buying a used unit. Learn what to look for (water damage, body damage, appliances working or not, general condition) to see if a rig is worth considering. Make sure they demonstrate every appliance and feature on the unit works BEFORE you buy.

Remember that many brands, including top level full timer names like Teton and Travel Supreme are no longer in business. That can make support later on problematic with or without warranty concerns.

Go to this website http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php? and join the forum. it's free. There is more info about full timing there than just about anywhere else.

Ask questions when you see something and do not be in a hurry to buy.

You mentioned desert heat. Take it from one who is an AZ. native and has spent more than one summer there in the heat in RV's. If the trailer is over 25 feet long, you will almost certainly need 2 air conditioning units on it. Anything over 30' it's guaranteed you will need dual 15,000 BTU units to stay comfortable. That also means you will need shore power or be prepared to spend very big $ on generator fuel for a BIG generator system to run them. You will spend less in a park than dry camping like that.

03-04-2010, 12:25 PM
Information well appreciated but as I stated earlier we personally and not for everyone do not need a large unit. We are as I said looking at 27-31 foot units.
We can not afford a high end full timer unit unfortunately. We know people that full time in 22 ft class C motorhomes or 22 foot travel trailers as one can not think of a small unit others are fine with them.

I also realize all units are not mad to full time in and thus will require better care and upkeep on them but if you can not afford a high end unit then you have to do this if you want to full time on what one can afford or pass the idea altogether.

We are looking at most likely a year out so we have time that is why we are looking and asking questions.

Do any of you on here full time in smaller fifth wheels that are not particularily mad for full timing, if so we would like to hear from you.

thanks again
Ron and Kathy

03-05-2010, 11:39 AM
You started out asking extremely vague and general questions seeking information. That's just fine but you will need to refine your search criteria before you can get better info. Most of the answers and advice you have gotten here are also in the general category.

While most of this stuff ain't rocket science you have to start fine tuning it a bit to get aimed in the direction you want to go.

If you already have your mind made up about what you are wanting then just ask for recommendations about that specific choice.

You have folks here who have years of experience in RVing and full timing who have tried to tell you what they learned through their hard earned experience. Being a full timer, no matter what kind and size of rig, means there are going to be compromises and a considerable paring down of "stuff" that you normally have with you at a stick home or even an apartment.

So in short, what do you want? Is it simply brand recomendations for small trailers?

As far as "high end units" are concerned, keep in mind that the depreciation on RV's, all of them, is very rapid. A "high end unit", after 6 to 8 years will be worth only a small fraction of what it sold for new. You need to look at dealers lots for older rigs as well as those only a couple years old. Decide what you have to spend then look for rigs in that price range not only in size, but age as well. Remember the older the rig, the more maintenance and repairs it will need. Buying an older rig may end up being pretty expensive as items like refrigerators are NOT cheap and they do not last like the ones in houses. Same for AC units.

03-08-2010, 12:58 PM
We can not afford a high end full timer unit
Actually, you can if you're buying used. The problem will come in finding high-end units in the shorter length you want.

Hitchhiker (NuWa), Excel (Peterson Ind.), Arctic Fox (Northwood Mfg.), and Carriage are all high-end manufacturers that make shorter fifth wheels. These manufacturers are all still in business, too.

King of the Road, Teton, and Travel Supreme are also among the high-end fifth wheel, although these manufacturers have gone out of business...not really a big deal for a used purchase since manufacturer's warranties are generally not more than one year. The problem with these three manufacturers is finding a short enough rig that is capable of being pulled by a 3/4-ton truck.

04-16-2010, 01:04 PM
We have owned five RVs in our lifetime. Each of them was purchased with specific configurations to match whatever lifestyle we were following. When the children were little we had bunkhouse models, when they all left home we had units with bigger bedrooms and living rooms.

We have never purchased a new RV. In our experience it seems like lots of people purchase an RV and do not use it as much as they thought they would. Many of these units end up on the used market in great condition.

We just purchased a 40' 5th wheel and we will be full-time in the unit. It is four years old, but I doubt it has more than 1000 miles on it. The carpet and upholstery look brand new. No one has ever cooked on the stove. It still smells new. The only difference between our 5th wheel and the new models is that new RVs often come with flat panel TVs. We addressed that issue by installing our new flat panel TV in the place of the older model.

We had an RV shop go completely through the unit, replacing any pipes, hoses or other things that were worn simply because they were four years old. We put a larger water pump into the unit and new batteries. We bought a 36 month warranty for $2000. Even with all these expenses as well as taxes and insurance we paid less than 50% of the cost of a new RV.

My advice is to shop the used RV market. There are great buys out there.

04-16-2010, 01:13 PM
We just purchased an RV for the purpose of living in it full-time. It is our 5th RV purchase. We made a list of the things we had to have to be content such as vented A/C and furnace, separate living room and bedroom, washer/dryer, computer desk etc.

Then we established a budget, in the same range as your budget. Then we shopped the used market.

In our experience many people seem to purchase RVs and then do not use them in the way the thought they would. Many of these units find their way to the used market with little wear.

Our "new" fiver is four years old, but looks, feels and smells brand new. No one has even cooked on the stove or done a batch of laundry in the washer. Because it was four years old we had an RV shop go completely through the unit replacing anything that could be damaged by mere age such as hoses and pipes. We put in a new converter box, bought new batteries and a 36 month warranty for $2000. With all of this we paid less than $25,000 for our new home, and that was more than 50% less of the selling price of a comparable fiver new.

It can be discouraging shopping the used market because many RVs have been used hard and should probably just be junked. There are, however, the occasional jewels out there. I would shop until I found one. We looked seriously for about two weeks, and found four we could have purchased, with our unit being the best.

06-20-2010, 07:00 PM
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03-12-2016, 05:00 AM
Great info! Thanks for sharing!