Another rookie

We're another couple getting close to "active retirement", wanting to travel 6-7 months a year. We have both experienced someone else's RV choices-TT, 5th wheel, Class C and Class A (Alpha "See Ya"). Each had their advantages and drawbacks. Somehow, we have been drawn to Airstream (yes, we've been playing the lottery). Looks, history, build quality, towability vs price. But, having no first hand ownership experience, we are at the mercy of other people's lessons learned. Web sites like RV Talk Forum have filled in a lot of gaps but here's what we'd like to know:
- Are TT and 5ers built well enough to handle heavy usage; moving around, set up, tear down, etc.?
- Looked at the customer surveys at RV America-quality and service inside each of the major brands seemed a matter of luck;
some good, some very, very bad. What's the best way to beat the odds and shop smart?
-If an experienced RVer had the money, what would you buy to move around a lot, and live in 6-7 months/year, in all climates?
-No, I'm not going to ask about tow vehicles (and I don't think Cummins diesel smoke smells any better than Ford/GMC. Sorry).

Thanks for the help.
Re: Another rookie

Of course, we think the one we have is the best on the market ... that's why we bought it! ;) :laugh:

Airstream trailers always felt closed in. I always wondered 2 things about Airstream trailers:
  1. Do you bump your head a lot?
  2. Do round sides make square cabinets lose space?

C Nash

Senior Member
Re: Another rookie

The older Airstreams were well built. Best towing TT made IMO. Have owned 4 in the past and all gave excellent service. Made for two people only, pricey, poor storage and I would not want one for extended stays. To be in you have to have a Suburban to tow with :eek: :laugh: . I remember pulling into a campgroung and this woman can running all the way acroos the CG and asked what our numbers were? I told her we had no number and you would have thought I poured a bucket of ice on her. She took off back across the CG. :laugh: :laugh: . Not all AStream owners are that way.


Senior Member
Re: Another rookie

We looked at an airstream at a show one time. Seemed well built, but I don't think I could spend 6 or 8 months at a time in one. The whole time we were in it I was always hunched over thinking I was going to hit my head. Now as far as 5th wheels holding up. Just ask ole diesel smoke himself. He has a 1995 5th wheel and he doesn't let any grass grow around his tires. Now the brand and how you take care of it is also important. And a 5th wheel is easier to back up in my opinion. And you should have a lot more storage space than a travel trailer. Maybe Snowbird will help also. Believe they full time in a TT.

Good luck in your search, and you will know it's the right one when you see it.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Another rookie

If you decide on a 5th Wheel take a look at:
Sunny Brook
Gulf Stream
They all seem to hold up to excessive use. Our 5th Wheel is going on 13 years, 90,000 miles and still holding up.
RE: Another rookie

Wanted to thank everyone for the informative replies. This has been the best place to get good info.

Now, another question: been watching the price of oil go past $100 a barrel, and am now trying to work "$5.00/gal" fuel costs into our travel plans. Has anyone experimented with using waste vegetable oil systems to stretch their diesel budget? Everything I've read says its feasible, but is it practical on the road: collectiing the oil, filtering, etc.

Thanks again.
Re: Another rookie

How would you do it "on the road"?

I wrote somewhere else around this forum (this week) about my neighbor's story of "making diesel" fuel.


Senior Member
Re: Another rookie

Let's clarify our terms. There is 'greasel', which is used vegetable oil. This will require modifications to your vehicle, including a separate tank and heater. With this route, you might be able to 'refuel' on the road, but I don't think there is any guarantee there would be a tank full available when you were getting low. And you would be competing with everyone else using it, and eventually nobody would give used grease away.

Then there is 'biodiesel', which is a 'replacement' for diesel made from vegetable oil. Actually, there are many biodiesels, running from B10 (10% bio and 90% petro) to B100 (100% bio). Allegedly you won't need to make any changes to your vehicle, except possibly change all the filters (bio is suppose to knock all the crud in the system loose).

You can allegedly make your own biodiesel, but I'll bet not on the road. And you can buy it some places (usually around B30), but the price is similar to petro diesel and the availability is much less, so why bother?