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Thread: RVs, 5th wheel vs Motor home

  1. #1
    President Member ddub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Centralia, WA, USA

    RVs, 5th wheel vs Motor home

    I have had motor homes for almost 30 years. Thinking about a 5th wheel. Would like to hear pros and cons from folks who have owned each.
    Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

    40 Champion 4 door*
    50 Champion 2 door*
    53 Commander K Auto*
    53 Commander K overdrive*
    55 President Speedster
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    63 Avanti R1
    64 Champ 1/2 ton

    * Formerly owned

  2. #2
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    lafayette in
    I don't have a fifth wheel but I have had many pull behind campers. Its nice to unhook the trailer and drive the truck into town or wherever you wish. Also have the options of upgrading the truck or trailer anytime you like, keeping the part that works for you and upgrading what is needed to upgrade.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

  3. #3
    President Member Gunslinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Frederick, Maryland, USA.
    I used to work at an RV dealership many years ago. A fifth-wheel is probably the most efficient of all RV's the most compact regarding overall length for tow vehicle and trailer...much more maneuverable than a standard pull-along can unhook it and use your tow vehicle normally.

    The only disadvantage may be the truck might have to buy a larger, more capable truck than normal depending on the size of the trailer and whether you even like owning a truck. Also...if you go the pickemup truck route, make sure it has a tow package installed...oil and transmission coolers, HD suspension, etc.

    To my way of thinking, the fifth-wheel option is a great way to go...the only other option that gives you as much flexibility is a tow dolly behind your motor-home for a car for using when the motorhome is docked somewhere...and that setup is nowhere as maneuverable as a fifth-wheel.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

  4. #4
    Silver Hawk Member 53k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Martinsburg, West Virginia, USA.
    I absolutely vote for fifth wheel trailers. I had a 35-foot three-slideout fifth wheel custom built in 1995. Why so big? We had intended to go full time on the road, but our plans changed when we had our first grandson (grandma couldn't go away and leave a grandson).

    I often parked it where motor homes could not get in. The nice thing about one that large is the pulling and parking length behind the truck is eight to ten feet less than the gross length because the hitch and front end of the trailer are directly over the truck rear axle. My tow vehicle was a long bed V-10 Dodge 3/4-ton. The tongue weight came in heavier than expected so I added one more leaf on the rear springs and solved the balance.

    Another plus is you don't have to worry about a trailer sitting in a lot for extended periods where a motor home is going to be unhappy sitting for long periods (stale fuel, etc.). We kept ours year round at a campground at on the Outer Banks (Buxton, NC). After our first year there one of the most desirable lots came available, big trees, nice patio and a storage shed and it backed on to a nice pond. I moved the trailer there in the winter when the campground was closed. One of the employees at the campground was tasked with helping people with large motor homes pulling "toads" get in to lots. At spring opening he came around to our site, looked for a long time, scratched his head and asked me how the hell I got that trailer in there (under a live oak).

    My V-10 gasoline truck averaged 8.5 miles per gallon pulling on normal roads and 6.25 in the mountains (my wife can't stand diesel fumes). My brother pulls a 31-foot fifth wheel out in the midwest and he averages 15 miles per gallon with his Dodge Cummins diesel. I'm not a motor home expert, but I don't think a comparable size motor home can equal those numbers.

    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
    '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

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