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Motorhome or 5th Wheel

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by yakimaman, Jun 28, 2012.

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  1. yakimaman

    yakimaman Well-Known Member

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    Currently have a 37' 5th wheel; pulling it with Chevy HD 2500 diesel but am looking at motorhomes. Comfort of travel, ability to tow a trailer or our car sounds appealing but I'd like to hear some pros/cons from people who have had both.

    rm
     
  2. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    rm; I have had both on a couple of occasions. When travel long distances there is nothing like a MH, pull into rest area or pull over on the side of the road and get a snack and cold dring out of the refer, a snack, fire up the jenny and have a hot meal or cup of coffee, take a whiz or a nap. When you get where you are going hit the auto levelers, extend the slides, plug in the power and you are done. My coplaint with the 5ths is that you can't really use them going down the road. Once set up they are as good as any but you or your wife have to drive the big truck whereever you go. I went from a 36' 5th back to a MH and have never regretted it. But to each his own.

    Don
     
  3. John Thompson

    John Thompson TS Member

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    I have a 37 ft. Mountain Aire, I traded a 34 ft. Winnbago. I did not like pulling a tow vehicle. A motor home is more convenient for driving but I prefer the 5th wheel. I would need a 40 ft. Motor home to have the same room the 5th wheel has. I can be unhooked and inside in under 30 min.s. I have also left the truck hooked up for an overnight stay. To each his own.
     
  4. Calkidd

    Calkidd Well-Known Member

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    Cost would be another factor. To get a MH with the comperable size and ammentities of a 5th wheel would cost quite a bit more.

    Being conservative, a used 5th wheel with a rig to pull it would be in the range of $50K-$80K. A similar MH would be closer to $100K.

    Would it not?
     
  5. Ahab

    Ahab Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with Big Don.

    I have had both and the motorhome is more convenient.
     
  6. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    I used to own a RV park. No telling how many times I have had to lend my pickup to folks that drove motorhomes and were staying with us. Kinda bad when you need a loaf of bread and have to un hook and fire up the motorhome just for a run to the C store down the road.
     
  7. John Galt

    John Galt TS Member

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    The decision was fairly simple for me. While motorhomes are great, I'd have to tow a small vehicle behind it. Now I'd have two vehicles to buy, insure, maintain etc., neither of which would get used much. Since I already had a 3/4 ton pickup as an everyday driver and utility vehicle, the best and by far the cheapest way to go was with a fifth wheel.

    On factor possibly worth considering is that motorhomes have become cheap to buy used since the price of fuel got so high. A used motorhome might be a good buy since it's a buyer's market for them.
     
  8. WS-1

    WS-1 Banned User Banned

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    Holiday Inn.
     
  9. Tommy67

    Tommy67 Member

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    You might want to check out irv2.com. It is a great forum with lots of information and opinions on motorhomes, fifth wheels, etc.

    Tom
     
  10. quartering

    quartering Active Member

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    takes an awful lot of nights in a motel 6 to offset the cost of a motorhome
     
  11. cunninmp

    cunninmp Member

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    I've had both and prefer the 5th wheel.
    If I had $5,000,000 in the bank I'd go with a
    upscale motor home.
    Still have my 5th wheel after 14 years.
    Big Leo has a nice 5th wheel.
    Must be something to it.

    Mike C.
     
  12. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Yakimaman, you didn't say how much use you're getting out of your current setup.

    When my dad switched from a large 5th wheel to a motorhome and "dinghy" (towed car), he also gave up his apartment and became a full time RV'er.

    The motorhome had definite advantages, but also some disadvantages.

    The motorhome was much more rugged, and was able to take steep grades better, had bigger brakes, and the interior was accessible to the passenger(s) while driving. It was far more convenient and was able to tow a fuel efficient vehicle to run around in. Towing the small car hardly made a blip on the fuel mileage of the motor home.

    The 5th wheel allowed use of the pickup for other purposes. (His had a disappearing 5th wheel, which seems to be uncommon today.) The weight of the large trailer meant high exhaust manifold temps and hot brakes on steep mountain grades. Not so bad if you are just heading out for a short vacation, but a full time RV'er does not want to constantly park to let the brakes cool. And yes, he had a 1-ton pickup. Basically you were also stuck riding in the pickup and had to pull over to get anything other that maybe what was in a small cooler in the cab.

    Biggest advantage to the 5th wheel was cost. Substantially cheaper than a motorhome.

    Biggest disadvantage to the motorhome, aside from purchase cost, is any maintenance. Everything in the running gear is truck size, with truck size repair bills. My dad spent a lot of money on axle seals, problems with the Jake brake, etc. Maintenance costs were more than for the pickup, but, in the long run, the pickup would be worn out long before the motor home running gear was.

    Another advantage of the 5th wheel is that if either component becomes problematic, replace it. With a motorhome, you have a much larger problem on your hands if it becomes a lemon or albatross.

    In either case, the motor home or 5th wheel trailer can be used as a base of operations. You then either use the pickup or the towed vehicle to explore with. Your lifestyle will dictate whether there is any advantage to running around with a vehicle that gets perhaps 30 mpg or higher to a pickup that may get 10 to 20 mpg, depending on what it is. A full time Rv'er will definitely have a budget advantage with the fuel efficient towed vehicle. Someone only vacationing will probably not have a significant budget impact with the pickup. Before you decide on a motorhome towing a small vehicle, do a google search for "dinghy towing". You'll find a lot of info on the subject, like which vehicles are suitable, which aren't, and why.

    BTW, in the interest of disclosure, I never had a 5th wheel, though I drove his. I had a small Class C motorhome, and eventually got rid of it. It wasn't large enough to tow anything but tiny car, and was totally useless for rough roads or trails. Way too large and frail for trails and only 2WD. Switched to a Land Cruiser and jeep trailer hauling tents and supplies. If I had a motorhome, I'd want to be able to tow a jeep-like vehicle or trailer one (so always buy enough motorhome to tow things). But I'm into exploring back country and that's probably not what you're into. Our level of comfort is rather primitive at best. It was nice to pull over and just go to sleep in the motorhome in places where you really couldn't pitch a tent, like at a rest stop. On the other hand, the motor home could not ford streams.

    [​IMG]<br>
    My spartan rejection of the comfort lifestyle.
     
  13. blade819

    blade819 Well-Known Member

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    I started with a Toy Hauler trailer. Had to buy a F250 to tow it. Then went to a Class B+ Motorhome, now a Class A Gas 37 foot with a sleep number Queen bed, washer/dryer, big shower, recliner and big screen. Motorhome is the only way to go as far as I'm concerned! You want a cycle, cart or car? Tow it.

    blade819 (sitting in motorhome in Maggie Valley NC)
     
  14. trapwife

    trapwife Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    When the Grand moved to Sparta, we took out a 10 yr lease and decided to get a camper. Having never had one before, we went shopping with the idea in mind to START SMALL...forget that! We aren't small people and stepping into a tiny trailer was not good. Finally found a brand new 36 ft 5th wheel with a front living room that we really liked the floor plan. Since the bed/bath were in the rear, the shower was TALL. That trailer turned out to be somewhat of a lemon, every trip ended at the maintenance shop of our dealer. Traded it off for a 42 ft 5th wheel toyhauler. For us, it has lots of advantages, not the least of which is that the "garage" turns into a second bedroom (queen bunk beds) and has a half bath. This allows us to take famiy or offer a bed to friends.I've been accused of operating the "Harrison Hotel". There are some trade offs, the living room is small to allow for a closet and the half bath. I'm hoping upcoming models will remedy that. We have to have a 4 wheel drive truck to get into/out of our driveway in the winter, so a 5th wheel just made sense for us.
     
  15. StansCustoms

    StansCustoms Well-Known Member

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    I've had 'em all. Started with a tent in 1970...and worked my way up the ladder.

    I've been a garage owner and a dealer all my life. Bought, sold and used every kind of camper, fifth wheel, and motorhome you can imagine...(except Prevost and the like..).

    Each one has it purpose and is better suited for that purpose than something else. So there is "not" a definitive answer to the question....unless the way it is to be used is thoroughly discussed AND your age is considered. Age is a major part of the equation.

    The general progression begins with a pop up camper and ends with a Diesel Pusher at the pinacle. I've had Class A's, Class C's, Fifth wheels , even tall top vans..and 3 room tents.

    Nothing is easier than a diesel pusher for and old guy to set up and enjoy....and what I lusted for till I finally got one.

    Luxury, ease of use, fuel efficiency (compared to the load they handle) and POWER are the strong suits of the latter...and absolutely a unbeatable experience.

    However ...the one I appreciated the most at a younger age (30), after tenting and dry camping a few years...was a 3/4 ton Chevrolet Camper special and a cab over camper that had jacks for easy and quick removal and installation.

    I needed the pickup for transportation and work when not camping. The camper was always ready with clothing etc...and took less than 30 minutes to mount the camper and hook up our boat. We lived in the flatlands of Midland, Texas then...and would drive 200 miles to water nearly every weekend wth that rig.

    So again...it depends on the exact need and age you are when making this choice.

    At 63, with kids grown and gone.. a worn out back from many years bending over a car hood and extreme Texas heat...nothing suits me better than my 40 ft. pusher with a big Cummins diesel and an Allison 6 speed transmission. The diesel 7500 watt generator runs two big a/c's and a microwave easily (and quitely)...and the washer and dryer is a big help when in a remote area. It takes about 20 minutes to level (computer) and hook up the sewer and water line if full hook ups are available. If not the huge black and fresh water tanks (100 gallon) will last a long time with conservative useage habits....and then it only takes 5 minuteds to level the bus and extend the slides. No more melt downs while hooking everything up in the heat, either way.

    Another thing...big diesel rigs are almost always MUCH higher quality furnishings and construction than nearly any pull behind...rightfully so because because of the greater cost when new.

    As dealer ...a used $60K diesel motor home ...is a better buy/value than a new $60K pull behind. (..if you know enough to determine a good one from a worn out one..) As stated earlier...diesel busses are not campers, and maintenance can be extremely expensive if they haven't been maintained.

    How do I use mine? We don't go far ...usually under 500 miles one way...but made a 1200 mile trip to Florida for and extended stay once. These things arn't cheap to travel the nation in. 5 star hotels and charter planes are cheaper for long distance travel. Unless you are fulltiming...or plan an extended stay.

    I pull a large enclosed car trailer...with my old Corvette inside, the bus doesn't even know it's there and it avoids gravel damage. The Corvette serves as our fun driver when we are at our destination and the trailer doubles as a garage...or extra storage for loose stuff when the weather is good. Works well for my station in life now..

    Note: Whatever you buy...find someone that has owned one or two, to help you look it over...experience really helps when moving up from a pull behind to a bus. A doctored up rig rig can be an expensive nightmare..

    Good luck and Happy trails..

    Stan
     
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