Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by ChugAlong, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    I am British and my wife and I will be visiting the USA soon and looking to take an extended holiday touring the country. We know not where we shall go and as yet dont intend to plan that bit untii we arrive but we are seeking to buy a 5th wheeler type unit in which to do this epic tour. On earlier visits to Florida we saw these units being towed by little trucks and after looking at 5th Wheeler pages on the Internet, haven't see them with the units. Are they are a seperate entity? If so then what is the best sort to buy for long distances, comfort, capability, durabilty and reliability and secondly how much should I be looking to pay for this little truck?

    I am not looking for a vintage wreck; a more modern and up-to-date vehicle is what we have in mind.

    :shy:
     
  2. Edmund A Skibinski

    Edmund A Skibinski New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    :) Steve ,the fifth wheel trailer and the truck to tow the trailer you normanlly buy seperately ,that being said the fifth wheel, will range in price between 20,000 dollars to over 100,000 dollars,the truck to pull the fifth wheel will start at 18,000 dollars to well over 80,000 dollars these figures are base on manufacture,what you want in the unit air,corian counter tops,leather as opposed to cloth,etc, the same applies to the truck,single rear wheels or dually,light duty truck 18,000-40,000 dollars,medium duty truck 55,000-85,000 dollars,and then if money is no object heavy duty over 100,000 dollars so there's a wide range to chose from.
     
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Yes, the tow vehicle and the trailer are almost always sold separately by dealers, but must be matched to be safe and effective. It is rare, but you may find a private party selling the combination (used).

    The 'little truck', known as a 'pickup truck' is available in 5 'weights': Mini-truck (not suitable for towing), 1/2 Ton (good for towing very light weights only, generally to be avoided), 3/4 Ton and 1 Ton. For the biggest/heaviest trailers, there are 'big trucks' available, but this would seem to be overkill for an 'extended vacation'.

    For the most comfort and conveniance, go for an 'extended cab' or '4 door' model. For the best towing, get a 'long bed' model. Dual rear wheels and/or 4 wheel drive are consistantly debated as to whether they are necessary or not. In order to be able to get up hills easily, a diesel engine seems to be the best choice, but more expensive. Big gas engines (like the GMC 454 engine) can do the job well, but often use a lot of gas. Smaller gas engines, like the new GMC 6L engine, do well on flat land, but struggle getting up hills.

    A 3/4 ton or 1 ton pickup will probably cost between $20,000 and $50,000 for new or a good, late model used one. Before choosing a truck, decide on the trailer first, as that will dictate which truck to get.

    A light-weight, 25' trailer may be towable even by a 1/2 ton truck, and could be adequate for 2 people for a month or perhaps 2. Light-weight implies flimsy, so these may not hold up well. Heavier weight will probably last longer, and perhaps be more comfortable, but will require a bigger truck and more fuel to move. A longer length will probably be more comfortable, but much heavier.

    Whatever length trailer you get, go for at least 1 slide-out; it greatly improves the livibility of whatever space you have. Trailers should run from $10,000 for a short, late model used one to over $100,000.
     
  4. rpsr1023

    rpsr1023 New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    You should also concider renting on for a short period of time
    rpsr1023
     
  5. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Thanks for you advice guys.
    I have £20,000 just short of $37,000 to spend on the whole entity although I will extend if the deal is exceptional.

    I read with interest your fuel type. I have a Land Rover Discovery Td5 that is diesel powered and offers incredible torque for towing my caravan here in Britain. We have gas vehicles but there are a restricted number of filling points around the country. What difference in torque does a gas powered engine have over a diesel or petrol driven engines?
     
  6. Edmund A Skibinski

    Edmund A Skibinski New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Steve,a diesel will always have more torque than a gasoline engine
     
  7. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Hey Edmund am I being a Schmuck?
    Is gas engines, gasoline as in petrol?
     
  8. buckbs

    buckbs New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    To your idea of buying instead of renting, I would rent a combo rig while I was in the US instead of buying unless you are staying for an extended amount of time. Buying a new RV rig and keeping it for a short period of time can result in a large loss due to the depreciation when you drive it off of the purchase lot. You would lose a significant amount of money in buying a rig and then selling it shortly.

    I have a new F-350 Ford turbodiesel, dual rear wheels, four door, long bed with 4.10 rear end (needed for towing a fifth wheel), auto tranny, and all the towing package. The list price on the truck was over $38,000 US list. My 35 foot fifth wheel listed for $57,000 US. I got about 15-18% off of the list prices on both, but that still put my investment at around $80,000 US for both. If I only kept them for one year, my depreciation would probably be 20% which means a loss of $15-16,000 for a short period of time that you would be here.

    In my opinion, you would come out better renting an RV rig if you are not going to remain here for a protracted period of time. Others may diagree, but short term buying means a loss of value when you resale.
     
  9. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Have you ever stayed in your motels Buck?
    They stink of cigarettes and are damp plus they are expensive for what they are.

    We rent cars and can't cross the state line so we are held captive in one state and we are fixed to a single point of exit. Nahhh! We want more and the only way we can achieve that is by buying a unit and doing it our way. We gazed across to Georgia once knowing if we crossed the line then our insurance would be void but others we spoke with on our return had been there and said it was great. We want some of that. By Hickey were gonna get it.
    :blush:
     
  10. buckbs

    buckbs New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Steve,

    I did not mean to rain on your parade. If you can afford it, I say go for it. I would travel Europe if I could speak all of the languages and if not for travel restrictions there also. I would love to have a camper or van to do that, but restrictions probably make my trip over there not possible. You only live once!

    Best of luck,
    buckbs
     
  11. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Hi Buck
    The language isn't difficult in Europe - Even small children can speak it. Sadly the British or Americans aren't that well liked, more so since our little shindig in Iraq when we taunted the French with newspaper articles depicting them as worms. Still its quite hard to be British and accepted in the EU. To speak any language in Europe you must have a good pointing finger to select items you dont know the names of in the local language, the ability to raise your voice to be understood and be able to hop on one leg. This assists in getting service in stores where the locals and nationals are waved past you to be served first.

    Its a beautiful place nontheless and wine is so much cheaper - From where I live in Southampton I can get to Paris quicker than I can get to Newcastle in the North East of Britain, so it is really close.

    Anyway it's been great talking with you Buck and thanks a lot for your help - I will buy a unit because the resale value will be much the same as the purchase price giving us a holiday for the cost of the fuel.

    :blush:

    Thanks to everyone for helping me out here - Steve
     
  12. buckbs

    buckbs New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Steve,

    Thanks for the advice. The anti-American sentiment in Europe at the present time would definitely be a factor is our traveling there. I would make two statements. Someone earlier advised buying one with slide-outs. I have three on my unit and they definitely add to more room and comfort. The other advice is to buy a quality unit. I paid more, but have solid wood cabinets, etc. You get what you pay for in anything.

    Have a great trip,
    buckbs
     
  13. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Just a quick point Buck

    Americans are more than welcome in Britain on an equal par as we are in the USA eventhough we are in Europe too but the cost of fuel is $7 a gallon and set to rise further. To fill my car, a Landrover Discovery td5 it costs $120 and thats diesel which is cheaper than petrol in Britain. We are also said to be one of the most expensive countries in the western hemisphere if not the world. Oh and it nearly always rains.

    But the bad points aside; if you knock on my door Buck, there will always be a place for you and your countrymen (and women) at my table.

    Steve

    :)
     
  14. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Steve, you should be able to get a decent, USED, combination for $37,000, and the depreciation at that level shouldn't be too bad. Still, you have to pretty much already be here to buy it (or risk getting cheated), and selling it could take a while and be even more annoying if attempted from the UK.

    I don't know what insurance you had which locked you into 1 state, but I'll bet there is some insurance available which would cover at least the 48 contiguous states. Also, renting a unit might be less hassle, particularly at the end of the trip; just turn it back in. Many used RV lots rent out their used trailers at a competitive rate.

    Gasoline (petrol) engines may or may not have more torque than diesel engines, but the diesel engine has the greatest torque at the low RPMs which are optimmum for towing heavy weights up hills. Diesel engines will generally result in a higher purchase price for the truck, but will sell for more when you go to get rid of it.

    Gasoline seems to be less than diesel in some places and more in other places, but usually they seem to be within about 10% of each other. Gas is somewhat easier to find, although, particularly along the interstate highways, diesel is not that hard to find.

    Yes, motels are usually too expensive, although if you show up 'late' you can usually get a substantual discount (33 to 50%) if they have unsold rooms. By specifying 'non-smoking' you avoid the cigarette smell, and I've never had any problems with dampness on the few occasions I've stayed at one. But a RV is a much better way to go, for sure.
     
  15. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Thanks Hertig
    Thanks for your advice we'll use that.

    We were told that we needed to book in Motels by 4:30 to guarantee a room for the night so we accepted anything that was offered.
    With an RV we wont have that problem

    Thanks Again Hertig

    :)
     
  16. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Just to add; our insurance for two weeks for a Chrysler saloon car was $445 and we could not cross the state line.
    Our collision waiver was a further $200
     
  17. buckbs

    buckbs New Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Steve,

    It sounds like you were taken advantage of because you were not a US citizen and did not have a permanent address.... my apologies, but it happens everywhere. As I stated, I would be cautious about touring Europe because I would probably get the same type of treatment there as you were getting here.

    I don't have an answer, other than to check with as many people as you can to pick up information before you make any decisions. You might also want to consult the British Embassy here in the US for advice.

    Good luck, as it sounds like you are planning the trip of a lifetime.

    buckbs
     
  18. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    If you want a guarenteed room, you have to sign up early and pay whatever they ask. If you pull up to a place at 9:00 or 10:00 and they have empty rooms, you can really get a deal. But better to have a RV and not worry about it at all...
     
  19. ChugAlong

    ChugAlong Junior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    Hi Guys its me again!

    Ive seen a GMC truck on This Old House - Steve Thomas drives one but when I have furrowed through the Internet pages entering 'GMC 454' as the search string or 'GMC 454 dually' - Nothing comes back that resembles what I am looking for.

    Is the term GMC 454 an acronymn?

    The truck I like the look of has dual rear wheels and has the durability and strength to pull any 5th Wheeler I may buy. Secondly where can I source the plate assembly that fits on the flat bed of the truck and allows me to 'hook' the trailer unit to the truck and is this easily removable should I need to use the truck as an autonomous unit?

    :question:
     
  20. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Can someone help me with 5th wheeler info please?

    GMC stands for General Motors Corporation, who makes good trucks (very similar to Chevrolet; same parent company). Go to the GMC website to see what trucks are available these days. I've had good luck with GMC and Chevy trucks.

    454 is a large block V-8 engine, which I don't think is available any more. 4X4 is a shorthand for 4 wheel drive. Some people swear by dual wheel tow vehicles, and some swear at them. They can slightly improve the weight capability of the truck, and may provide better traction. On the other hand, you have to buy 6 tires instead of 4, the truck is wider and harder to park, and maintenance is harder (getting at the inner two tires)

    No pickup truck will 'pull any 5th wheeler'. A one ton will tow many of them, and a 3/4 will tow some of them. A 1/2 ton will pull very few of them. The 'weight' of a truck depends on the model. For instance, GMC 1500 is 1/2 ton, 2500 is a 3/4 ton, 3500 is a 1 ton. They also have a weight upgrade, i.e. 2500HD is a heavy 3/4 ton/wimpy 1 ton.

    The 'plate assembly' is called a '5th wheel hitch'. REESE, HUSKY, LI'L ROCKER are some of the name brands of these. If I was getting one, I'd check out the PULLRITE non-slider first, as it claims to be much closer tolerance than the others.

    Many hitches have rails which attach to the truck, and the hitch just drops into the rails and is held by pins. This is adequate, although the rails require big holes to be chopped into your liner and do slightly interfere with 'normal' use of the truck. Some hitches also offer an 'under the bed' mount, which may be preferable. When the hitch is removed, all that is left is a few small holes in the bed.

    Ease of hitch removal and replacement is not bad, except that the hitch can weigh 100 pounds or more...
     

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