Class A Or 5th Wheel ~ Oh My!!

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by finernfrogfur, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. finernfrogfur

    finernfrogfur Member

    Grandma and granddaughter are seriously considering doing full-time RVing. Would appreciate your opinion /thoughts in order to make our experience the best it can be.

    I’m vacillating between a Class A (Monaco model Monarch length 35’, but still looking and would like a diesel, however; cost is a factor) and a 5th wheel (Montana model # 3665RE length 37’6”). Both would be brand new as I don’t want pre-owned. I decided no travel trailer because, according to the salesperson at the RV dealership, they won’t put a washer /dryer in and I haven’t really seen a floor plan I like. If I chose the 5th wheel the towing vehicle could be used, but must have a King Cab (we have pets) and would like diesel.

    • Class A pro’s: safety (can walk from living space to driver’s seat without going outside in case a shady character is lurking about and we need to leave NOW), dishwasher, washer /dryer, living space feels bigger, good basement storage with slide out trays, can tow my PT Cruiser (love that car!!).

    • Class A con’s: temporarily loose home if engine repairs are needed, loose home all together if engine dies – what do I do then.

    • 5th Wheel pro’s: able to park 5th wheel keeping same campsite and use tow vehicle to run errands etc, dishwasher, washer /dryer, 42” HDTV raises /lowers behind fireplace, won’t lose home if truck repairs are needed.

    • 5th Wheel con’s: safety (we need to exit 5th wheel to get in the truck and if that shady character is lurking about…), how could I keep my PT Cruiser (love that car!!) unless I drove the towing vehicle with 5th wheel and my granddaughter who is on the verge of getting her driver’s license drove my PT Cruiser (1st brand new car I’ve ever owned and I treat her like the Queen she is so, nobody drives her except me), only one basement compartment.

    Questions at the top of my priority list are:

    1. Which RV, Class A or 5th wheel, do you think would better serve our needs?

    2. We will do 4-seasons… Which manufacturer has the best /warmest Arctic package?

    3. What types of expenses could I incur when selecting my home base? (ie: sales tax, personal /property taxes, interest and dividends tax, licensing, vehicle registration, mail forwarding service, etc.)

    4. I must have a comfortable riding truck… What size towing vehicle is needed for the Montana 3665RE 5th Wheel 16,000 pounds loaded weight? What bed length – long or short? Which 5th wheel trailer hitch should I get? What is a sliding hitch or a replacement pin box for the fifth wheel?

    5. What should I be asking that I haven’t?

    6. If we were your Mother or daughter… What would you want us to know about full-time RVing?

    Thank you for helping me to keep my brain from spinning!!
  2. akjimny

    akjimny Senior Member

    Re: Class A Or 5th Wheel ~ Oh My!!

    Hi RoxAnn and welcome to the RVUSA Forum. For what you intend, I would think a motorhome would be your best choice. You can have all your amenities (washer/dryer/big fridge/plenty of storage) and your security if there is someone lurking outside and you can tow your PT Cruiser. The only caveat would be - will you be comfortable driving a big Class A? I know grandmothers who drive semi-trucks and, since I live in Florida, I know grandmothers who aren't safe drivers in a golf cart.

    As to which manufacturer has the best cold weather package, hopefully some of the other forum members will have that info. I know some of the big Class A's have heater ducts in the floor to keep the basement storage areas warm, but I don't know which ones.

    I currently live in Florida. No income tax, and since I'm old and disabled, reduced personal property taxes. You can renew your driver's license and vehicle tags by mail. As for mail forwarding, I don't use a service as I have a friend house-sitting who sends me my mail.

    If you decide to go with a 5er, you will need a minimum 3/4 ton long bed pickup. What is comfortable for you to drive is a personal decision. Some of the trailer folks on the forum can better answer the rest of this question.

    Don't let your brain get all in a spin. It sounds like you have a good handle on most of the questions/problems with full time RVing. RV folks are a pretty friendly, easy to get along with group, and you sound like you will fit right in. Good luck and post back to let us know how you do. :) :) :)
  3. krsmitty

    krsmitty Senior Member

    Re: Class A Or 5th Wheel ~ Oh My!!

    If you decide on a 5er that size, I would go diesel (3/4) for a tow vehicle. What model? You would have to look/drive each to find the one that you like.
    If you go with a long bed you would not need a slider hitch, they are for short beds. As for what brand, again you would have to do some research and decide from there. I have a Valley, but others may say Reese is best, etc. etc.
    Possibility of getting better MPG with a 5er and tow truck
    If you have a class A and are hooked up at a site, you would have to go outside anyway and unhook everything before you leave NOW. If you dont...could be a mess. ;)
  4. finernfrogfur

    finernfrogfur Member

    Re: Class A Or 5th Wheel ~ Oh My!!

    Hi Jim,

    You raise a good point about the driver's ability. Taking vehicle size up a notch from what I have driven I'd make sure I took an RV class and then plan local excursions to build up my skills. Venturing out slowly builds the confidence and skill level while keeping everybody safe.

    You mentioned a long bed if doing a 5er. In your opinion... Are the short beds just too short for a tight turn? Is the locking 5th wheel better than the one that slips?

    Thanks for your input!! And you're right RV folks do seem like a really nice crowd. In fact we first became intrigued about full-time RVing on our trip to Alaska. What an awesome adventure that was!! God's canvas for sure!!
  5. finernfrogfur

    finernfrogfur Member

    Re: Class A Or 5th Wheel ~ Oh My!!

    Hi Ken,

    Driving a city truck (smaller than a semi) I have towed a tow dollie and also driven a pick-up with trailer. Haven't used a 5th wheel though, but I'm not afraid to try. Either way, Class A or 5er, I'd take the RV class and then do local excursions to develop my skill level keeping everybody safe.

    You mentioned that you've got a Valley. How is it for making tight turns? Do sliding and locking hitches have the same turning radius? How is using the slider hitch different than the locking hitches like the Reese?

    Pick-ups... Would a single axle safely handle the 16,000 pound load? Do I have to consider a dully? If I do - ugh, because they are fuel guzzling and enormous. Single axle is still up there fuel wise, but less so than a dully and a gallon is a gallon.

    Yeah, leaving the site and not having rolled up the awnings or pulled out the wheel chucks could prove not only messy, but expensive to replace - lol. It would be like that scene in the movie "RV" and we don't want to do that now do we!?!

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