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Old 03-08-2018, 04:28 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Georgia
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Soon to be full-timer

My wife and I have decided to sell the house and everything in it and live in a fifth wheel. Goodbye HOA, hello problem after problem after problem. Thatís the feeling I get when reading these forums. Back when the kids were little we owned a Jayco Flight fifth wheel I pulled with a half ton pick up. We had a few issues with it but nothing like Iíve been reading about these newer units.
Is my decision to buy a 100K fifth wheel a mistake? Iíve narrowed my search to DRV Mobile Suites 39dbrs3 preferably slightly used. Should I buy a cheaper unit and forget about MorRyde suspension, 15Ē box channel frame, disc brakes, hung 3 1/2Ē insulated walls, etc? Will I be spending my summers at the factory in Indiana and winters at a repair shop in Florida waiting months on end for repairs as some of the posts and youtube videos have indicated?

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Old 03-08-2018, 07:57 PM   #2
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Go for it. Great feeling not to have to worry about someone watering/mowing the yard for 3 months or more...
Had an '05 Doubletree, bought used in '07, towed it for 10 years, no real problems. Traded it for current '15 DRV and so far in one year, no problems. Used RVs can be problematic, but close inspection and maybe a professional opinion can help. And, no, don't forget about all the DRV basics that are not found in other fivers.
I keep up with all the DRV forums I can, and bought used hoping the problems, if any, were handled--so far, so good.

And, welcome to the forum.


2016 Tiffin 40 QBH
2015 38RSSA, traded
2005 TK3 #1869, 10 yrs of memories,
2017 F450 KR--one more Ford is it
2009 F450 4x4-died; 2010 F450-retired
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Old 03-11-2018, 06:14 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2017
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Hi Phil and welcome to the forum. I concur with Joe that used DRVs can be a great find. A thorough inspection is critical. Since it appears you haven't pulled the trigger on buying a 5th wheel quite yet I'll tell you some of our experience in buying ours.

It's obvious from your listing of DRV design "features" that you have done your homework too. We early on decided we weren't buying new and suffering the significant depreciation that always accompanies pretty much anything new so we focused our search on older models, deciding we'd try finding one in the 2010 and up to maybe 2014 range. We eventually found the 2011 38 TKSB3 that we bought, located in FL. We talked several times with the previous (original) owners and got LOTS of high quality photos from them that helped us decide this was very likely "the one" for us. At that point I drove from CO to FL to check it out in person and was still impressed enough to have my wife fly there for her to see.

The only 3 things that we have had issues with are A) the front landing gear HAD an issue with leaking hydraulic hoses that have since been taken care of, B) the RV's hitch and, C) one Nev-R-Lube wheel bearing that had reached its end of life. Regarding the landing gear, I started a thread in this forum titled "Getting new landing gear - maybe" that you might find informative about the landing gear issue we had. Regarding the hitch, our rig has the original Trailair air ride hitch with Tri-Glide option - more on that below. For the wheel bearing issue I bought a set of integrated hub/bearing/rotors from Kodiak Trailer to resolve that.

As for the hitch, I really like the Trailair hitch air bag and shock design for the ability to dampen vertical motion. This capability combined with the Trailair Center Point air suspension really helps smooth the tow a lot, but the Tri-Glide I really DON'T like. I discovered it's designed to allow king pin fore and aft movement relative to the RV, to reduce chucking. Good intent but badly executed. When the rig is in tow on highways at constant speed it behaves much like it's a solid, non-moving hitch. It's during acceleration from stops and braking that it makes itself known in a very loud and very annoying way - banging the tow vehicle like it's being hit with a BIG sledge hammer each time the Tri-Glide hits the hard limits of its travel. Those hard hits along with its roller design are likely why Lippert no longer makes or supplies the Tri-Glide. If you search RV forums for Tri-Glide problems you'll likely find several other owners who've had some really scary tales of their Tri-Glide almost coming apart due to parts wear and breaking apart and cracked welds. Ours isn't quite that bad but I very recently found one cracked weld on the jaw pivot pin outer washer that concerns me and it does have wear allowing the king pin plate to rotate radially and side to side - one of the conditions others have indicated it's not long before it too might start coming apart.

I have an Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel hitch and love it, and recently got advice from Andersen confirming the Tri-Glide is NOT desirable or recommended. Their advice is to either get a solid lower jaw, which is available, or weld the Tri-Glide plate solid to the upper non-moving frame so it no longer moves. I have a 200-amp welder so I'm going to see if welding it will do the trick.

So, that's my experience so far, for what it's worth. If I were to be negotiating the sale of our RV, knowing what I know about this hitch now, I would have worked on getting a lower price to compensate for making it into a solid jaw version. Same goes for the leaking hydraulic hoses but that's another story. So far, other than these things, I haven't found any other failings with our RV and we're looking forward to getting to use it this coming summer.

Again, just inspect everything and every system as thoroughly as you can and hopefully you'll find the 5th wheel that meets your needs and doesn't require you to be a constant fix-it man so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Good luck.
Steve and LaDonna
2011 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3 #5509
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Old 03-13-2018, 03:59 PM   #4
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Location: S. Cali.-MT
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There must be a reason(s) that you have narrowed your search(s) to a DRV MS? So keep in mind that the RV will be your future home. Of course no one can tell you how to spend your hard earned savings. Rest assured there are no perfect RV’s. The extended repairs and inconveniences you mention can occur with any make, model, yr. style, cost. of RV.
For thoughts on the running gear you mention. Perhaps if you’re going to park it somewhere and not travel per-say, you may not need those options. We wouldn’t consider a trailer in this weight range without those mentioned options, but we’re FT snowbirds. No regrets here.

Be well.
DRV Suites ES-38RSSA #9679
GM Denali 3500HD-Max 4x, CC, 8' DRW
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the encouraging words. I drove to Knoxville and met Butch and his wife at RV's For Less. Great, helpful people. They gave me a quote on a new 39DBRS3 with exactly what we want in it.
My wife and I are going to see a 2015 39DBRS3 in lower Alabama (LA as we call it). If the negotiated price plus renovations (new furniture, mattress, MoRyde steps, etc.) come in more than 80% of the quote I got from Butch we will be ordering a new one. Build time is running 16 weeks. Gonna be a long wait.
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