Getting ready to buy first rig

Hi, everyone, thanks for all your contributions. Just found the site today, and have been reading it most of the day!

I have never RV'd. before, but used to sell Fleetwood Motorhomes about 13 years ago. I didn't sell them for long, as I loved the product, but hated the process people went through (like buying a car)to buy their dream.

My question is this: My wife and I are looking to relocate out of Southern CA. The place is outrageous, and we did NOT get lucky (love all the hindsight real estate experts) with the last 6 year run up in real estate prices.

We're considering buying some land in Klamath Falls, OR area--and then build our dream home on it.

We are planning in May to do the maiden voyage---pack it up out of here and then go up north--take our time see the coast and enjoy the ride with our 10 year old daughter, and 8 year old son.

I own a 2004 F-350 6.0 Powerstroke Diesel (I know it will pull just about anything) 4x4.

Two things:

Do I need to do anything "special" to this truck to tow a 35 ft 12,000 lb. (loaded) travel trailer?

I know some will say, "Why not 5th wheel?" but I don't feel like burning up my bed of the truck with the hitch. I know, they come out, but going down the road, someday I'd like to through a waverunner in the back of it.

The other question:

I'm considering buying a 35 foot Cedar Creek Silverback (model 35 RLDS)loaded.

Anyone own a Cedar Creek product? How's it holding up? Service?

The reason I'm not buying Fleetwood, is Fleetwood stopped making a 33 foot travel trailer----too heavy for most that it appealed to.

Any comments on Cedar Creek and the truck will be appreciated!!!!


Getting ready to buy first rig

Welcome to the board Jeff!

We have a 38 foot TT and pull it with our 3500 Dodge Ram 4x4 just fine. Our TT is made by Forest River (Sierra) and after five years it's holding up great. We've put a lot of miles on it, we're on our second set of tires, lol.

Sounds like it will be a great experience for your children! Have fun and again welcome!


Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig


What you need to do is to look at the weight ratings for the truck and the weights of the trailers that you are interested in. Compare the GCWR of the trailer to the combination of the truck's actual loaded weight and the GVWR of the trailer. That will tell you where you are on weight. Then look at the pin weights and add that to the actual weight of the truck and it needs to be under the GVWR the truck is rated for.

Remember, moving the trailer isn't the issue it is stopping in in an emergency and controlling it when in bad circumstances. Weights will effect control and also the reliability of the truck. Keep safety first.
Getting ready to buy first rig

I've heard both good and bad about Cedar Creek but its another entry level trailer (less than $1500.00 per linear foot). Of course they also have some middle grade trailers as well. If you want a better quality rig look at Sunnybrook, New Mar, or ???? (its late I can't remember). Another good entry level rig is an Artic Fox. Of couse this is my opinion from a technicians standpoint. I always judge by type and quality of construction and livability not how pretty the interior is. The best thing to do is you pick the brand by constution quality and let your wife pick the model by livability. :laugh:
Getting ready to buy first rig

Thanks, for the posts. I'll be pulling any rig we decide to buy with a 2004 F-350 Diesel 6.0 Powerstroke Diesel 4x4.

I'm told that this truck can pull a 20,000 lb beast with no issues.

The total weight I think I'll be settling in is about 12,000 lbs. loaded. I have the 1 ton model.

Will I need any transmission cooler or Banks Powerpack, etc. or is my truck fine by itself? Not wanting to burn the transmission out on the maiden voyage.

I used to sell Fleetwood stuff 12 years ago. I know they were mostly a "middle of the road" type manufacturer.

We were originally wanting a Prowler Regal ---33 foot with the Rear Living Room, Double slide. Fleetwood decided to stop making this floorplan in 2006, mainly because the coach is so heavy, most people that the floorplan was designed for, didn't have my type of pull vehicle. Most people would want the 5th wheel versus the travel trailer.

I just didn't want to "burn up my truck bed," with the 5th wheel hitch---any thoughts or comments?


Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig

Yes to the transmission cooler. A transmission temperature guage is an important option, and can be easily added if not built in. I got a combination external filter and temperature guage for my old truck for well under $100.

More power is nice, but see if you need it before paying the Banks cost. However an 'exhaust brake' is a good option for helping you down hills.


Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig

A lot, I would think, but you can buy a good one for around $70 at an auto parts store and put it in yourself (very easy). Or shop around for a radiator shop to install it for you. Install the temperature guage at the same time and you should be out the door for under $200 (parts and labor). Of course, it would be $800 at the dealer, probably :)

C Nash

Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig

Jeff, check to see if you have the towing package. You may already have the cooler. Temp guage would be good for towing this kind of load.
Getting ready to buy first rig

I have a customer that bought a Cedar Creek 2 years ago, after trading what he got from us. He now says the Cedar Creek has spent more time at the dealership he bought from, than in his yard. We have replaced the axles and converter for him. He is now shopping Gulf Stream. Look around.
Getting ready to buy first rig

John, I'm not mechanical at all! I don't even change my own oil, because I just am not a wrench turner. We all have different skill sets. I can sell like no other---so it's better for me to make the money on the next sale, and just pay a professional to do these types of things.

Every time, when I owned my home, and repairs came up---there I was---Saturday morning thinking, "OK, off to Home Depot at 9:00 a.m.---buy the parts---back home--thinking, "Be done in an hour." 12 hours later---4 trips back to Home Depot----disgusted with the Home Improvement project, etc.---and saying, "Why did I not just hire someone?" Saving a few bucks for me----has always cost me hundreds later in "repair work." Done for repairs stuff----my wife puts together the kids' toys because I can't seem to understand the "engineer's mind" that wrote the **** instructions! So, fixing anything---putting something in---ain't my skill set.

John on the Cedar Creek---looked like it was built a lot better than Fleetwood's stuff. I was a Fleetwood salesman, selling RV's back in 1992-1993. I toured Fleetwood's plants several times while I was selling and recently "just to see how they were put together." Not saying they aren't good. If Fleetwood had continued making the 33 foot Double Slide/rear living room in the Prowler Regal line----I would have purchased it already! They aren't, and I'm not wanting a 5th Wheel---so what are my options?

I've looked at Keystone's Montana, ----seems "flimsy" to me when I walk in it.

I'm in the retail price (not what I'm paying for it, because since I used to work selling these---I know the margins and whoever I buy it from----it will be a "mini deal.") price of about $37,000.

Gulfstream----way more money than I want to spend on my fist rig. I'm adding the Motosat RV Internet/TV satellite set up at $5,000, so this thing is going to get expensive if I go bigger---5th wheel or something more luxury.

Cedar Creek---never had heard of them before last weekend---but what I was standing in for the money----seemed like the Amish were building a unit that seemed like it was put together pretty solid.

I was in Fleetwood's and Keystone's all last weekend----seemed like some of their quality went down since I used to sell them. Their high end Bounder Diesel's and Class A's---looked awesome---but I'm not spending $150,000+ on a rig.

I'm reading on these people complain about their Ford 6.0 Diesels and it's got me concerned. I have a 2004 F-350 (past the year that they had all the problems), got 20,000 miles on it--I bought it new and am maintaining it every 3,000 miles. No issues for me, and I love the truck, but haven't towed anything.

Others on this post, got me thinking my motor is going to blow a ring or something the minute I put any coach on the hitch!

Chelsea------I have the towing package, along with others on this truck. I've contacted the dealer and Ford directly----no one can tell me what the towing package consisted of! I'm so frustrated on this issue!! I contacted Ford, gave them my VIN number asking them for a build sheet on my truck when I bought it. They send me a letter saying I have the "Towing Pkg" on it. I ask, "What was in the towing package?" No one knows!

I don't think I have a transmission cooler, unless this was standard equipment. I do not know what one looks like or where to look on the truck. I think all that came in the Towing PKG when I bought the truck, was beefer springs in the back, and 2 heavy duty batteries. There's a receiving hitch welded to the frame, and what looks like "electrical plug ins" next to it for my brake lights----people go ahead and laugh---this is how STUPID I am when it comes to mechanical stuff! Not my bailywick, nor am I some techie gearhead on the computer. I can type----obviously, I've written a novel here.

Anyone in need of a great salesman, let me know----maybe I'm able to close that deal out there you couldn't! Maybe we can trade skills---you fix up my truck----I close that customer you couldn't and make an even trade.

Getting ready to buy first rig

jeffg look in front of your radiator(look through your grille on the front of your truck) you should see the air conditioner coil and in front you will see a smaller coil (looks like a tube bent into loops back and forth ,not sure how big ,but the tube will have fins covering the tubes with the loops hanging out each end . thats a transmission cooler. one of you earlier questions was do you need anything to pull 35' trailer , yes weight dist. hitch, maybe a sway bar, and for sure a trailer brake control installed in the truck w/ a 7 prong RV type plug on the truck . hope this helps TEAM3360


Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig

JeffG, If you have the towing package you should have the trans cooler. Like team3360 said you should see it. I think your year truck should have the trans temp gauge also. Check your owners manual it should help. If you live near a ford dealer just stop by and talk to the service manager. Sure he won't mind showing you a few things on your truck. As far as the ford bashing, take it for what it is. You put thirty guys in a room (10 ford owners, 10 dodge owners, and 10 chevy owners)and ask who owns the best truck? Then step back :laugh: . You got me worried on my Montana now. Hope it last me long enough to buy Chelse's rig when he upgrades :) .
Getting ready to buy first rig

Thanks, Lee---I'll check that out.

Ray, Fleetwood is still making the 33 footer---in the model you mentioned. Personally, I like the rear living room model with the 2 chairs in the back. The one you mentioned, again for me, focuses too much on the kitchen versus living space--just not my style.

Shadow---I think your Montana is fine! Most RV manufacturers are similiar in most ways. When I sold Fleetwoods---we were always trained to pitch one feature over someone elses. Then you go over to their lot and they pitch how Fleetwood is less than this. Personally, I think they have differences, but most are slight. For me, it's a "fit and finish" feel when you're in it----this, you can see, touch, taste, and smell.

I knew nothing about the Cedar Creek, again haven't bought it yet, but for the price range of the one I'm looking at, seemed decent construction versus a few of the Fleetwoods I was looking at the same price. Who knows?

I'm looking at floorplan and size first---then trying to match the budget to the manufacturer. Obviously, I don't want to spend the entire next year in and out of RV Service Center, and hoping what I see---and buy---will hold up. I'm not one of those "let's buy it now---then trade up every couple of years" type guy.

Just like the Ford Diesel----I've had a great experience with it, with no headaches at the moment---only 20,000 miles. I maintain my cars (pay someone else--expensive--but gets done)every 3,000 miles--also checking air pressure, monitoring type fluids, etc. So, I plan on keeping it.

As for the RV---I'm hoping whichever one I buy---it doesn't just "fall apart." Sidewalls--I hear one say "gelcoat's the best." Then I go to another lot---"Man, you don't want gelcoat- Filon siding is what you want."

All the different people, give me, a new customer, a barrage of usual mis-information and then what? You're forced to try and make an educated decision about the facts, myths, etc., and spend a lot of money.

So, I appreciate your information---I'm going off today to another bunch of RV dealers----on the journey------last weekend I'm doing this---as this process just flat out wears out everyone involved.

I've tried to look at the floorplan we want---and try to compare apples and apples---hasn't been easy---even here in Southern CA---the capital of retail selling.

Getting ready to buy first rig

JEFFG YOU SHOULD RECHECK GULF STREAM PRICES UNLESS YOU DONT LIKE THE FLOORPLANS. YOU SAID IN EARLIER TREAD (ABOUT $ 37000) I got a quote from GRANDVEIW on a 34'sedona 5er at around $30-35k you might get into a gulf stream (very nicely built) for that kind of money The wife and I are still pondering that 5er LEE

C Nash

Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig

Jeff, on the Ford problems. I am Chevy through and through but would not hestitate to buy a Ford to tow. Saw a real funny sight the other day on the road. A Chevy Duramax was towing a Dodge Cummins on a trailer and had broken down and a Ford deisel wrecker was backing up to tow them both :eek: :laugh: . shake all the rvs up and let them fall out without names and there probably will be no difference. As a general rule price will tell. If they are cheap the mfg had to cut coners somewhere. You see problems and lemons in all makes. Beware of salespeople that bash other makes. I would go with a caged aluminium unit but just my opinion. Have you checked Sunnybrook. Ask about insulation, heated tanks, enclosed underneath and CCC. Went to a show today and had a factory rep tell me 1400 lbs was enough CCC for a fulltime unit.
Don't listen to Shadow about talking to the service manager at the local Ford dealer :laugh: Only ask him who his best tech is and go talk to the Tech. Any service managers out there don't get mad as I was one at one time also. I think the towing package does include the cooler.
Getting ready to buy first rig

I almost bought today, a 2005 Carriage 34 foot 5th Wheel----real nice unit loaded with stuff.

I wasn't going with a 5th wheel until today---seems like it gives me all the space I want and floorplan.

Since we'll be spending some time in it---seems the way to go.

I was just getting concerned with towing a 35 foot travel trailer with sway---first time, etc.

Any thoughts anyone on this brand? Seemed nice---price is great as it's a 2005 and has sat a little on the dealer's lot---they want to blow it out for a lot less money than others that I saw. Retailed for over $50k---I got the guy down to $31k----and it's nice and new.

What do you all think?


Senior Member
Getting ready to buy first rig

Jeff, you will get a lot less sway pulling a 5er than a travel trailer. You can take the hitch mount off the bed of truck after you have parked the rig. You can check about hauling you wave runner on back of 5er (I'm not an expert on this). Of course, it sounds like you have the truck to haul it just fine. I don't have a 5er, have a class A, but have been in several Carriage 5ers and they seem really nice and roomy. That is one of our choices if we go to 5th wheel type rig in the future (other being a Montana) Good luck ;)