Full Time RV'ing (5th Wheel vs Class C Motorhome)

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Lobby, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    Say one is considering going full time on the road and isn't sure exactly what RV to select.

    Assume one wants decent fuel economy, and toy hauling availability (for a motorcycle).

    I realize these conditions are too broad, but it may be time for a decent RV thread in here.

    :lurk
    #1
  2. Caribou Aqua Buddha

    Caribou Aqua Buddha Long timer

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    Neither of those allows for easy bike transport. Sometimes the regular old trailer is the way to go.
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  3. Hodag

    Hodag native

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    airstream pan american and a big pick up
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  4. Mr Kawasaki

    Mr Kawasaki Sardonios Irritatus

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    +

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  5. NICO

    NICO Save the USA

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    Hodag's got the right idea. Didn't realize Airstream was making the garage models at this point. I have seen some sweet garage model fifth wheels as well. Complete with keg cooler and a nicely sized screen room off the back.

    Keep in mind, if you go Class C you'll end up wanting a toad as well. The biggest complaint I've heard from folks in motorhomes is having to deal with all the problems of parking and tight streets when they want to run into town for groceries or to grab a bite to eat. Things are much easier when you have the tow vehicle to get around in. Even better when you can haul your bikes in the garage of the camper.

    As far as fuel efficiency, good luck. You prolly won't find any admirable numbers in the Class C category. Too much surface area to push through the air. Same with a fifth wheel.

    I have heard some decent numbers (15-18mpg range) with the Class B motorhomes based on the Sprinter platform, ala...
    [​IMG]

    You will need to pull a trailer to bring the scoots though.

    EDIT: 205'd by Mr.Kawa. Slow fingers and all.
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  6. dragoon

    dragoon I'm the REAL Dingo Joe

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  7. kobudo28

    kobudo28 Banned

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    The term "RV" and the phraze "decent fuel economy" are at odds with one another to some extent. :lol3

    My in-laws live full time RV with no house any more. They have a 42 foot diesel motor coach, not good fuel economy. They travel from time to time with some friends who have a fifth wheel with a Dodge HD with Cummins diesel in it. Dad said if he had it to do over again he would go fifth wheel instead of coach for a number of reasons.
    • The tow truck eliminates the need to tow a car behind a coach. This will be the same issues if you have a class C should you want a car or a trailer big enough to hold a car and bikes.
    • If you have a fifth wheel you can drop it and take the truck any time you want. A fifth wheel is more manuverable then a 42' coach, which allows you to get into to some tighter spaces then you can with a class A coach and some class C's as well.
    • An HD truck with a programable engine management system will typically give you better fuel mileage then a coach and power when you want it by pushing a button.
    • I would go diesel for the towing power. Dad had a 40' with a V-10 Ford chassis and it was a DOG. His Cat 325 makes a ton of torque and he said you can feel the difference, even in something that big.
    • At least a truck has some other uses and perhaps better re-sale oportunities then a class C.
    I am not sure what the cash outlay would be for a good truck and a fifth wheel vs. a class C.

    Just my .02, which really isn't worth that much.
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  8. KingRat

    KingRat Stroppy.

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    convert a 7.5t commercial box?
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  9. ImaPoser

    ImaPoser adventure imposter

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    42' tag axle class A. Put a motorcycle(or two) on a lift hanging off the back, and tow a jeep wrangler. :nod
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  10. KingRat

    KingRat Stroppy.

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    or convert an old bus/coach?
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  11. jkam

    jkam Nomadic Man

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    Between a 5th. wheel and a class "C" get the 5th. wheel or better yet do a gooseneck.

    I've seen some 5th. wheel setups that have a nice garage in back for the toys.
    The problem for me is they are huge and you can't get into some of the places I can with my little 24 ft. class "C".

    In the 1 1/2 years I've been living in mine full time, I've paid to camp once at Death Valley Daze.

    Paying for a space in an RV park or campground is getting more and more expensive. Nearing and sometimes more than a decent motel.

    If you plan to move around a lot, then size and ability to maneuver is important.
    #11
  12. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Long timer

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    Get a wooden church, and toss it on a flat bed.
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  13. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer

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    Have a Class C and trailer for hauling two bikes, and all the dirty junk in a trunk. A 5th wheel is going to set you back $30k to $50K just for a truck to haul it. My problem is if you want to stop at a restaurant or Wally World a 5th Wheel is a royal pain to park. I frequently leave the trailer & motorcycles at a campground and pickup it up a few days later. Looked at the toy-haulers and immediately saw that the cost of simply buying a landscape trailer to haul 2 muddy bikes was the way to go.

    A Class C can basically go anywhere a car/truck can go. I consistently get 10.9 miles per gallon. Been to Alaska twice without a sweat but would never attempt AK in a 5th Wheel.

    If you are going to park an RV for months and months at a time at the same place and use it like a cabin. Get a 5th-wheel. The drawback to a Class C is lack of room...but if you do get a Class C, make sure to get pushouts. I'd have reservations about living in a Class C full time though.

    5th wheel greatly limits where you can go...ie: back roads and campsites. For me backing up a 5th wheel would also be a royal pain.

    If I bought again I'd rent a Class C for a week to see the good and bad features. YOU WILL NOT SAVE MONEY (ON FOOD, MOTELS, ETC) BY BUYING AN RV. RV's will definately cost more.
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  14. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    Interesting comments, all. Particularly the variability in them; one says "A," the next says "B, definitely."

    I suspect this may be a personal decision more than anything else.

    A friend in meatspace advised to get the motorhome. The wife can then walk around to the back and go to the bathroom while it's underway.
    #14
  15. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free! Administrator

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    W/ a 5th wheel, he can stick her in the trailer & she can go to can any time she wants & he can listen to whatever he wants on the radio.

    Win-win.
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  16. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    :nah What about road head?
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  17. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free! Administrator

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    I'll ask you one question.

    How long have they been married?

    And there ya go folks. Game, set, match.
    #17
  18. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    If the RV is a rockin', don't bother knockin'.

    :deal
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  19. lunachick

    lunachick lurking since 03-01-2003

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    My parents have it figured out. They were homeless for years except for this:

    [​IMG]

    They tow a motorcycle trailer that fits all 4 of the BMW's. They spend most of the winter in California and don't have a car there.
    #19
  20. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Raggamuffin Super Moderator

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    I lived in a class C for over 5 years. If I were ableto do it again I'd get a 5th wheel or travel trailer. A toy hauler type would be the ultimate IMO.

    As other folks already mentioned, if you're planning to stay in one spot for more than a couple days, it's nice to not have to move your home anytime you want to go somewhere. A bike mitigates this to a point, but you're not going to take your propane botts for a refill on your bike.

    Concerning propane, the tank on a class C or A is fixed to the chassis, not so on a TT or FW. You can get an "extend a stay kit" (t & pigtail to use portable propane botts), but then you're going to have to haul those somewhere when you're on the road.

    Unless you have those fancy hydraulic levelers, leveling a motorhome is a PITA compared to leveling a TT/FW. Not every campsite is going to be level.

    The overhead bunk in a class C is a pain. Whatever I got, it would be big enough for a dedicated bedroom. FW's shine in this area.

    A big consideration for Mohos: if it's in the shop for any mechanical repairs or routine maintenance, so is your house.

    As far as using the loo underway, the pressure on the outside of the rig will force the stinky gases from the holding tank into the coach if you open the shitter valve while driving.

    Also w/ mohos, you pay a premium for the driving area, which is essentially worthless space when camped...to get the same amount of usable space in a moho as a TT/FW plan on getting one ~6' longer.

    For full timing comfortably with 2, a 32' TT/FW is probably about as small as you want to go, add 6-8' onto that for a garage model.

    Once folks start full-timing, they tend to stay in one spot a lot more than they originally planned. Moving every few days gets old quick when you have to level, hook up everything, put the awning up, etc, etc...
    #20