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CCallaway

Full Timing, Super C or 5th Wheel

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We are a family of 5 planning to full time for a year and see the lower 48. I thought I had decided on a Renegade Verona but started looking at the floorpans of 5th wheels last night and realized the I liked the living quarters better. I feel like a college professor in that I've read all the books but don't know squat. No offense to college professors. Other than living conditions I wonder about driving in the mountains in a 5th wheel vs Super C. Any input would be greatly appreciated. 

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Welcome to the FMCA forum! Glad to have you here.

It's exciting that you're at the start of such an adventure. So many things to decide, so I'm sure that it's overwhelming. Here are a few questions to help make things even more confusing.  But, they may help us help you if we know a little bit more about how all the pieces fit together.

Have you ever pulled a trailer before? One anywhere near the size you're talking about? What will you use for a tow vehicle? Do you already have a truck capable of pulling the 5th wheel or does that have to be figured into the expense?

Have you ever driven a straight truck or other vehicle the size of the Verona?

The living space is only part of the equation. Feeling comfortable while driving is another, especially if you plan to see a lot during your year of full time living. Do you plan on spending a good amount of time in each place, or are you going to try and get to a lot of different places. One factor is going to be the ease/difficulty of setting up when you arrive in a campground. And if you get the Verona, you'll have to decide if you're going to pull a car behind, which would not be necessary with the fifth wheel which comes with its own vehicle for driving around the area once you set up the campsite.

 

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I have not pulled a fifth wheel nor driven a truck as large as a Verona so I guess I'll be green either way. We probably will not spend much time in the southern states since we live here and have seen most everything already. We figure that gives us 50 weeks to see 40 states and will spend most of our time out west and not as much in the midwest. We have not planned the exact route or sights we want to see so I'm not 100% sure how long we will be spending in each campground but I don't imagine it will be more than a week in any one place. We live I the country and I already have a truck but not one large enough to pull a large 5th wheel. If I go the 5th wheel route I will trade my truck in on either a Ram 3500 or Ford F-350 and then after the trip trade back down to a smaller truck. 

 

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Welcome!

Since you have a truck, your biggest challenge will be in backing in a 5'er (fifth wheel)..that's a big learning curve.  A Super C will drive and handle much like your truck, even backing in!  

Would like to know a few things.  You said that  the bigger truck would be traded in for a smaller one after the trip...what about the trailer?  Would you do the same with your Super C?  Is your current truck/car tow able?  You said 5, is that 3 kids?  What age?  If kids are involved, IMHO I would be looking at a Class A with bunk beds!

Carl

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Ccallaway,

Welcome to the Forum. 

I am going to have to digest what you would like to do.

Are you planning on buying a truck large enough to pull a 5th wheel large enough for your family of 5, take a trip for year then sell both? Or doing the same with a motorhome?

Have You considered the cost of such an adventure?

Just questions to consider. 

Herman 

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I will be buying either just for this trip. The children are 7, 9, and 11 and I know my window is shrinking on when I can take a trip like this.  All our kids are really involved in sports and extracurricular activities and I just don't see us having time to take enough trips after this one to justify the expense/maintenance of keeping the trailer or motorhome. I have considered the cost and close one eye every time I think about it.  I just sold my business and have a little money to play with and just think this would be a fantastic experience for the children. After the trip I will go back to work full time. Wise man told me one day that you can always make more money but you can never make more time.

Both the Super C and the 5th wheel I was looking at had bunk beds. The beds in the 5th were not right on top of our bedroom which was nice. At the end of the day we plan on being on the road for 4-6 weeks, fly home for a long weekend, and then fly back out to continue our journey. My parents are in their 70's and in good shape but I want to come home to see them on a regular basis and probably fly them out to see us some also. 

 

Thanks for the comments.

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59 minutes ago, CCallaway said:

I will be buying either just for this trip. The children are 7, 9, and 11 and I know my window is shrinking on when I can take a trip like this.  All our kids are really involved in sports and extracurricular activities and I just don't see us having time to take enough trips after this one to justify the expense/maintenance of keeping the trailer or motorhome. I have considered the cost and close one eye every time I think about it.  I just sold my business and have a little money to play with and just think this would be a fantastic experience for the children. After the trip I will go back to work full time. Wise man told me one day that you can always make more money but you can never make more time.

Both the Super C and the 5th wheel I was looking at had bunk beds. The beds in the 5th were not right on top of our bedroom which was nice. At the end of the day we plan on being on the road for 4-6 weeks, fly home for a long weekend, and then fly back out to continue our journey. My parents are in their 70's and in good shape but I want to come home to see them on a regular basis and probably fly them out to see us some also. 

 

Thanks for the comments.

You are in a position I was in back in 2008. We wanted to take a family trip across the country, my wife looked into renting a Class C. When she got the pricing we dropped the idea. She asked me if we bought a fixer upper and flipped it after the trip could we break even? I looked into it and found a 31' Class C that seemed like a good candidate for the plan. At the time our kids were 8 and 6. We bought the coach February 2008, I worked on it daily for several weeks and got all the defects out of it. Spring arrived and I had an itch to for a shake down local trip, off we went, unit performed perfectly and we had a lot of fun. July rolled around and we took our extended vacation across the country from PA to CA. After returning from the trip we discussed selling the coach, kids flipped out and my wife admitted she had a lot of fun and I will admit, it was the best family vacation ever. We ran that coach up to 2014 and traded it in on the DP we currently have, as they say they rest is history.

At the time I considered a trailer, my wife's Yukon XL would have made a great tow vehicle. I tried to sell to my wife being cheap but my wife pointed out quickly that wouldn't work with kids and the trip planning at hand. She reminded me of all the potty breaks and how the trailer would make that miserable couple that with the climate we were headed into (HOT) and No AC then having to wait for it to cool at our daily destinations. Plus she planned boondocking along the route, no generator was another concern. A motorhome was our only option at this point. 

When I traded it in 6 years and 44,000 miles later I got what I paid for in 2008, I felt good about that. I will say I am not sure if I miss that old coach or the memories made with it but it certainly changed our lives and made some wonderful memories. We have also met a few life long friends along the way. 

Good luck with your decision making and keep in touch.

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C --

Welcome to the forum!  Whether you decide on purchased a Super C motorhome or a fifth-wheel trailer the end result is you will be towing something -- the Super C towing the small vehicle you'll need to explore many areas while the motorhome is at the RV park or a big 3/4 or 1 ton truck pulling the fifth wheel.   Prior to owning motorhomes, I owned a 32 foot long 'bunk house" travel trailer (bumper pull) that brought great fun for the wife and I, grandkids and was temporary living during my Project Manager assignments.   Towing a big travel trailer in windy conditions or passing a semi-truck were for me high anxiety / white knuckles experiences even with anti-sway bars for the trailer.  In those conditions, the trailer becomes a "sail" that whips the truck!   In contrast, driving a 38 foot and now 41 foot long motorhome with a Jeep Wrangler in tow, I'm much more comfortable driving the motorhome in the same conditions.

I'd recommend a 36-40 foot Class A motorhome with a "bunkhouse" beds/floor plan as Class A's offer more living space than a Super C.  From a finances point of view, the total cost of a 3-5 year old pre-owned fifth wheel and 3/4 or 1 ton truck will easily approach $100,000.   For that amount of money, a very nice gasoline engine Class A motorhome can be purchased such as this 2016 Georgetown that has lots of beds for three kids --> https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-rvs-for-sale/class-a/2016-forest-river-georgetown_rv-44130

 

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Thanks to everyone for the info. I talked to a guy last night that has full timed for 4 years with 2 kids in a 5th wheel but is looking to purchase a 40ft Class A. He mentioned I would not like making up a pull out bed everyday. Probably right and would like to have a "fixed" bed for everyone. I am currently looking at the Renegade Valencia 38BB. Does anyone have any experience with the Valencia's? Thanks.

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For the price of a new Valencia you can get a pretty decent class A diesel which I think would handle and ride better than a truck chassis.

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CC.  To answer your question.  I have never owned a Class C gas or diesel.  However, I also have not heard anything bad about any Renegade Model.  

Some on this Forum, keeps harping about "Truck chassis & rides like a truck"!  To my knowledge, all Motor homes, gas & diesel ride on a truck chassis!  Only exception would be a Bus conversion!  If the coach, A or C is a diesel, then they have a Air suspension with shocks and or springs!  

Go and test drive a Super C and a class A gas and a class A diesel...Only you can determine what you like...then go from there!  Rule of thumb on a new coach, take 30% minimum off sticker price and that's what you should pay!  Your coach or trailer, will loss 30/40% of value as soon as you leave dealership! :P

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

To my knowledge, all Motor homes, gas & diesel ride on a truck chassis! 

Not exactly, the DP chassis is exclusive to the RV industry. Some chassis manufactures make a bus version with spring or air suspension up front basically a more simplified price point chassis.

Examples;

Roadmaster customized each chassis for each model. Of course they are gone now, their chassis derived from a commercial Bus. Early models were more of a Bus chassis, later ones were more of an RV type design.

FCC (Freightliner) Rear engine DP, not sure what they offered over the years for suspension, but I cannot recall ever stumbling upon a FCC DP chassis with spring suspension in an RV. 

F53 (Ford) Exclusive to the RV industry. Very similar to the F-550 truck chassis, suspension almost identical, brakes are the same along with the powertrain. Gas powered is a different group all together. Ford does make an F59 for the commercial truck stripped chassis, i.e. Step Van chassis which is different from the RV.

A class C super or otherwise starts its life as a truck, depends on who purchases it and what they build behind the cab. I just checked Freightliner, you can pick axle manufactures for the front, not spring or air suspension. 

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Thank you Joe, for making me realize that I have to put in more disclaimers in the future...Like chassis that are no longer used on any type of coach, also I will discard the position of the diesel engine...Super C is in front, Class A FRED is in front, etc!  

 

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2 hours ago, manholt said:

Thank you Joe, for making me realize that I have to put in more disclaimers in the future...Like chassis that are no longer used on any type of coach, also I will discard the position of the diesel engine...Super C is in front, Class A FRED is in front, etc!  

 

Carl glad to help. I am engulfed in truck chassis/body specs and maintenance 5 days a week. There is a lot of options out there, none will take the truck ride out of a truck chassis, not from the chassis manufacturer anyway. Aftermarket, different story. 

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On 1/30/2020 at 4:43 PM, CCallaway said:

We are a family of 5 planning to full time for a year and see the lower 48. I thought I had decided on a Renegade Verona but started looking at the floorpans of 5th wheels last night and realized the I liked the living quarters better. I feel like a college professor in that I've read all the books but don't know squat. No offense to college professors. Other than living conditions I wonder about driving in the mountains in a 5th wheel vs Super C. Any input would be greatly appreciated. 

Both of your choices are doable. However I would look at a diesel pusher because you will probably have more storage and a better ride. In the price range you are talking there are some new and many used coaches. One outher benefit of traveling in a coach over a fifth wheel with kid is you don't have to stop for them to use the bathroom.:D

Here are some examples.

https://www.mhsrv.com/2020-sportscoach-srs-366bh-bunk-model-rv-w--2-15k-btu-a-cs--oh-loft--and-amp--340hp-new-diesel-pusher-tx-i2506944

or something used.

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-rvs-for-sale/diesel-motorhomes/2016-thor-palazzo_rv-43589

or

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-rvs-for-sale/diesel-motorhomes/2011-fleetwood-discovery_rv-42812

Have fun 

Bill

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Thanks for the great thoughts and links to the RV's. I guess I need to get out there and drive some different models. I guess it's nice that I can't really make a bad decision, just one might be better than another. I figured there was some wiggle room in the price and I will use 30% as my starting point. 

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