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Old 02-05-2012, 09:22 AM   #1
Tudelum48 OP
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Full Size Pull behind RV thread

Well im looking at retiring soon and think I have a need for a Travel Trailer. Tow vehicle will be a 2009 Chevy 1/2 ton extended 4x4. Looks like tow specs for a 373 gear put me in the sub 7500 lb range. I dont even want to get close to that so Im looking at 23-24 foot max on length and would like to have a slide and stay below 5000 lbs.
I went to a dealer yesterday and to say the least im more confused than ever. There are so many models,makes and styles my poor mind went into overload.
Heres how I plan to use it:
1. Probably just the wife and I mostly with the occasional grand kids.
2. Will do some hook up camping at the normal lake camp sites that have electric and water.
3. Primitive camping in the LBL in KY. I'll be using a generator for charging camper and boat.
4. Might get brave enough to drag it to Florida to check into the snowbird environment to see if we like it.
5. Probably be a handme down unit to the kids.
6. Got to keep it short for primitive sites.
7. Dont want one with cloth extensions.

Normally when I buy something I keep it a long time, so im looking for one that has a chance to last several years.

With the chance of this turning into a Tire Thread argument. What are the brands I need to check out? I have already looked at the Coachman lines and would really like the looks of the Forest River. I have never owned a Travel Trailer so i'm in uncharted water. Any direction would be appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
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We RV shopped ~3 years ago so I know what you're saying about being overwhelmed.

Let me add to your quandary.

Have you considered getting a toy hauler - do you want to bring a motorcycle or two along on the trips?

Are you looking at a receiver hitch or fifth wheel? 5th wheels haul better but you loose bed space. There's also the option of loading a bike in the pick up if towing with a receiver hitch. Loading/unloading won't be as quick and convenient as with a toy hauler however.

There are so many brands and models it's mind boggling. I would just ask the inmates if there's any specific ones to stay away from (and why)?
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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Life long RV'r here, I'll start off by mentioning Jayco.

good luck
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:18 AM   #4
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Oil threads will have fewer opinions. I've spent a little time looking around here in the past. You may find it to be a decent start for researching owner opinions and experiences.

My research has led me to believe that you will probably be able to find something decent to pull with your truck, but for long term durability (read: built very well), many of the trailers will be quite heavy for that truck. I have always loved the Airstreams, but that is big money and big weight. Sunnybrook have some nicely made models as well.

Get into as many models as possible, preferably hitting a show, and check out how what you can see is put together. If the cabinets and walls are wafer thin, I would expect that theme to carry throughout the beast.

Just my opinion, as usual.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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Welcome to the world of RVing. It is confusing at first but then so is any other kind of lifestyle change until you learn whart it's like.

Hardware has some good questions for you to ponder and how you decide that will eliminate a significant portion of the units out there.

If you go with a 5th wheel you will have a significant portion of the weight on the truck, figure about 15% to 20%. Make sure you are not overloading the axle / tire capacity by doing so.

If you go with a "bumper pull" or travel trailer you still have a hitch weight to consider and since it is on the very back of the truck will jack up the front end. That lowers the weight on the steering axle, kicks your headlights way up and screws with the handling unless you get a weight distributing hitch. I'd also look at a sway control hitch as well as trailer sway is not fun o the road. (some of those hitches combine the functions)

You list a half ton PU. You are already ahead of the curve in that you know you are pretty limited in what weight you can tow. Frankly speaking a half ton PU is not much to tow an RV with. Do not forget everything you put in the truck including passengers and payload reduces the towing capacity the same amount. If you have an automatic transmission make sure there is an oil cooler for it and one for the engine is not a bad idea either.

I have had experience with Nash units. Also in the same family is Arctic Fox and Desert Fox. They build both 5th wheel and tracvel trailer style units in various lengths. I can say that they build a hell of a unit, light in weight and long on quality, far far above a jayco product. To me, jayco is at the bottom of the barrel.

Here is an outstanding source of information for all kinds of RVing. If there is a question about the subject those folks do not know, there probably isn't an answer. This link takes you to the escapees RV club forum.

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?

It costs nothing to register for the forum but you can read the threads without registering if you want.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
Manuel Garcia O'Kely
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Don't ignore aerodynamic drag with your tow vehicle - some of those 5th wheels now have 6'-6" headroom in the front bedroom - damn things look like a tractor trailer at 13'-6" tall! Imgaine the extra drag.

The good news is that you should find some excellent deals either new or used, the RV market is terribly depressed right now.

If you are really going to full-time it, I have to say I'd consider a bigger tow vehicle and a larger trailer, unless you and the wife are really used to close quarters for extended periods.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Motor31 View Post
Welcome to the world of RVing. It is confusing at first but then so is any other kind of lifestyle change until you learn whart it's like.

Hardware has some good questions for you to ponder and how you decide that will eliminate a significant portion of the units out there.

If you go with a 5th wheel you will have a significant portion of the weight on the truck, figure about 15% to 20%. Make sure you are not overloading the axle / tire capacity by doing so.

If you go with a "bumper pull" or travel trailer you still have a hitch weight to consider and since it is on the very back of the truck will jack up the front end. That lowers the weight on the steering axle, kicks your headlights way up and screws with the handling unless you get a weight distributing hitch. I'd also look at a sway control hitch as well as trailer sway is not fun o the road. (some of those hitches combine the functions)

You list a half ton PU. You are already ahead of the curve in that you know you are pretty limited in what weight you can tow. Frankly speaking a half ton PU is not much to tow an RV with. Do not forget everything you put in the truck including passengers and payload reduces the towing capacity the same amount. If you have an automatic transmission make sure there is an oil cooler for it and one for the engine is not a bad idea either.

I have had experience with Nash units. Also in the same family is Arctic Fox and Desert Fox. They build both 5th wheel and tracvel trailer style units in various lengths. I can say that they build a hell of a unit, light in weight and long on quality, far far above a jayco product. To me, jayco is at the bottom of the barrel.

Here is an outstanding source of information for all kinds of RVing. If there is a question about the subject those folks do not know, there probably isn't an answer. This link takes you to the escapees RV club forum.

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?

It costs nothing to register for the forum but you can read the threads without registering if you want.
+1 I just bought a 2012 Arctic Fox 22H, after doing tons of research. My TV is a 2008 Tundra with just about the same limits as your 1/2 ton. Weight of the 22H is about 4700# with a hitch weight of 595#. The 22H is a 4 season TT, with excellent insulation and cold weather features (holding tanks heated by air ducts from central heater). The H model has a full coach, an almost queen size bed and with the dinette, sleeps 6. Really happy with it! Note: I also discounted a toy hauler, hitch weights were at or exceeded limits for my truck and they just don't have the comfort and amenities/comfort of a TT that was more important for me.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:14 PM   #8
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www.rv.net

Enjoy the next few days researching.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:48 PM   #9
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I will echo what O'Kely said about tow vehicles, you can't have too much truck. I wouldn't tow much more than a Casita type TT with a half ton truck.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:34 PM   #10
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I will echo what O'Kely said about tow vehicles, you can't have too much truck. I wouldn't tow much more than a Casita type TT with a half ton truck.
I would have to disagree with this, based on a hell of a lot of personal experience. In the last dozen years I have had four 1/2 ton Chevys and towed extensively with each, often over 20K miles per year. I currently tow a 26' old style, sticks and tin travel trailer that runs about three tons, loaded. The tow rig is a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 and 3.73 rears. In well over 100k miles with various trailers behind GM half tons I have had ZERO towing related issues. It's not 1975 anymore. Half ton trucks today have performance and towing specs. that blow the doors off 3/4 T trucks from "back in the day". The OP would do well to spend time on rv.net with particular attention paid to the towing tutorials and searching various manufacturers. Unfortunately, so far this thread has a lot of "opinions" that could easily be misconstrued as facts. Comments like half tons only being suitable for fiberglass egg trailers, or "Jayco is bottom of the barrel" really make it clear that this is a bike forum, and that credible RV knowledge is best found elsewhere. A good start in the search for a quality trailer would include Jayco, K-Z, and Nash products.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #11
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I would have to disagree with this, based on a hell of a lot of personal experience. In the last dozen years I have had four 1/2 ton Chevys and towed extensively with each, often over 20K miles per year. I currently tow a 26' old style, sticks and tin travel trailer that runs about three tons, loaded. The tow rig is a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 and 3.73 rears. In well over 100k miles with various trailers behind GM half tons I have had ZERO towing related issues. It's not 1975 anymore. Half ton trucks today have performance and towing specs. that blow the doors off 3/4 T trucks from "back in the day". The OP would do well to spend time on rv.net with particular attention paid to the towing tutorials and searching various manufacturers. Unfortunately, so far this thread has a lot of "opinions" that could easily be misconstrued as facts. Comments like half tons only being suitable for fiberglass egg trailers, or "Jayco is bottom of the barrel" really make it clear that this is a bike forum, and that credible RV knowledge is best found elsewhere. A good start in the search for a quality trailer would include Jayco, K-Z, and Nash products.
We all have opinions, that was mine and this is yours, if you're happy with a half ton that's swell. Like I said, you can't have too much truck, I see folks pulling big ass fifth wheels with srw trucks all the time, but I wouldn't do it.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RedRocker View Post
We all have opinions, that was mine and this is yours, if you're happy with a half ton that's swell. Like I said, you can't have too much truck, I see folks pulling big ass fifth wheels with srw trucks all the time, but I wouldn't do it.


The OP is looking at towing 5k. One doesn't need a 350 diesel to do that. A 1/2 ton will do fine. Just as srw 3/4 ton trucks can tow smaller 5th wheels.

Just cause you wouldn`t does not make it wrong or unsafe.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:01 AM   #13
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We all have opinions, that was mine and this is yours, if you're happy with a half ton that's swell. Like I said, you can't have too much truck, I see folks pulling big ass fifth wheels with srw trucks all the time, but I wouldn't do it.
Big difference between an opinion and a decade of heavy use that provides a deep base of knowledge. The "can't have too much truck" comment is a whole lot of testosterone that fails to add up in the real world. The average new towable buyer is a family with kids who will use the unit for a week long vacation and 6-8 weekend trips per year. They need a one ton diesel about as much as they need a Ferrari. A properly outfitted "half ton" pick-up can safely tow 6-8K trailers and be a usable family vehicle for the 95% of the time that it isn't towing anything. There is a reason that the hottest selling vehicle today is a 1/2 truck with a 400+ HP motor that gets low 20 MPGs when being used as a soocer mom, grocery chaser, yet tows 11K. I once fell for all the macho bull, and bought a four door superduty diesel. Biggest mistake ever. Great tow vehicle. Worthless for everyday life in the real world. Expensive to purchase, operate and maintain. It was also stunningly unreliable. The OP is looking for a modest Trailer and knowns what it takes to pull it. Had he started this thread as a retiree heading out for a lifetime of travel in a 18K, 38' fifth wheel, you would be correct, you need more truck.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:37 PM   #14
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I would have to disagree with this, based on a hell of a lot of personal experience. In the last dozen years I have had four 1/2 ton Chevys and towed extensively with each, often over 20K miles per year. I currently tow a 26' old style, sticks and tin travel trailer that runs about three tons, loaded. The tow rig is a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 and 3.73 rears. In well over 100k miles with various trailers behind GM half tons I have had ZERO towing related issues. It's not 1975 anymore. Half ton trucks today have performance and towing specs. that blow the doors off 3/4 T trucks from "back in the day". The OP would do well to spend time on rv.net with particular attention paid to the towing tutorials and searching various manufacturers. Unfortunately, so far this thread has a lot of "opinions" that could easily be misconstrued as facts. Comments like half tons only being suitable for fiberglass egg trailers, or "Jayco is bottom of the barrel" really make it clear that this is a bike forum, and that credible RV knowledge is best found elsewhere. A good start in the search for a quality trailer would include Jayco, K-Z, and Nash products.
Agree with most of your post and would just point out that Nash and Arctic Fox and both made by Northwood Mfg. http://www.northwoodmfg.com/

In your research, you'll find that a lot has changed in the RV market with the economic downturn, some brands are gone, some are made by other makers. But if you got some cash there are some pretty good deals out there. My 22H was listed at $28k and I paid $22k for it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:45 AM   #15
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Agree with most of your post and would just point out that Nash and Arctic Fox and both made by Northwood Mfg. http://www.northwoodmfg.com/

In your research, you'll find that a lot has changed in the RV market with the economic downturn, some brands are gone, some are made by other makers. But if you got some cash there are some pretty good deals out there. My 22H was listed at $28k and I paid $22k for it.
You are right, things have gotten real interesting in the world of RVs since the start of the depression. Nash makes some great stuff, and you got a decent deal on yours. Having bought four new ones so far, I try to end up with a discount in the high 20% range, off of true list. The fact that some orphan brands are now being made by the survivors is interesting. By the end of the boom, Fleetwood and coachmen were building absolutely shit towables. They both tanked, quickly. Hard to dump major amounts of cash on warranty work for the shit you built, if you aren't pumping new units out of the door, fast and furious. At the last Hershey show I looked at Coachmen towables. I ended up chatting with a long time upper management employee. She mentioned how they were now owned by Buffett (Forest River). After I noted the obvious improvement in quality, I asked, "So building garbage, heading into a collapse of the market, didn't work out real well, eh? She smiled and said that the last few years of the old company were hell. Pump garbage out, ASAP, and let the dealers and customers take the hit. Fleetwood OTOH was so pathetic that it's hard to believe that anybody wanted to even buy the naming rights. Good luck with your Nash, I'm sure it will last nearly forever with a bit of maintenance.
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