Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Hi all,

My husband and I (both 32) are about to bring to fruition our dream - becoming full-timers. We've been saving for this since we were 19 and newly married. We're ordering our fifth wheel unit in two weeks, and are deciding between the Montana: 3400, 3500 and 3650. I'd love to purchase a Big Sky, but ouch! It's just not in our budget .

This is my very first time in an RV forum, and I came out to ask those of you with experience two things - - - for any among you who lives in any of the three Montana models I've listed...would love to read your raves/complaints about your unit, **and** a more troubling issue for us is the decision to go short bed or full-sized truck bed. We're ordering a Ford F350 dually, and we'd both love to go short bed (of course), but the car salesman informed us that there are huge problems with RV sliders for the short bed trucks. I'd hate to base a purchase of this magnitude on a salesman's word, so I decided to seek out the experienced folks.

Can ya'll help a gal out and tell me how many of you are using sliders, and what your experience with them has been like? We'd be using a Husky slider, I believe. I tell ya, these decisions have a broad stressed out (self-deprecating laughter). PLEASE clue me in people. I'd be forever in your debt.



RE: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Sorry but i own a class A 40 ft motor home ,, but i have heard stay away from the new f350 diesel with the 6.0 they had head probs right out of the box,,, but they will fix it under warranty ,, but is it worth the trouble,,, i think i would look into a dodge or a chevy (the dodge has the cummins Same as in my rv,sorta)
The duramax is really catching the towing crowd,, so i've heard..


Senior Member
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

The problem is not with the slider, it is with the short bed WITHOUT a slider. The RV is wider than the bed is long, so as you turn sharply, the cab of the pickup and the edge of the trailer can get quite intimate. The way around this is the sliding hitch, which you move rearward for sharp turns (particularly when backing) and forward for normal towing.

The problem is that in order to turn (sharply) you have to stop, get out, unlock the hitch, pull forward a bit, possibly lock the hitch again, make the turn, possibly unlock the hitch again, back up a bit, get out, lock the hitch and then go. And to remember to do all this whenever you are turning sharply. An extended pin on the RV can reduce the need for the slider, although in my case I found the pin hit the edge of the bed way before any other part of the trailer came close to the truck.

There are a few sliders which reduce these problems. PullRite has one which extends 'automatically' when you turn; the major problem with it seems to be that if you ever unhook when the truck and trailer are not in line, you may have trouble getting it hooked back up again. And there is at least one which is controlled from within the cab, but the price is probably significantly higher.

Personally I would never have a short bed pickup, and that would be even if I never wanted to tow anything. In fact I did have 'kind' of a short bed pickup, as when I had the trailer I had a generator in the front third of my long bed, so every time I pulled out of Home Depot, I had stuff sticking out behind the truck. I'm much happier now that the trailer (and generator) are gone (at least from a hauling stuff in the truck point of view).

One more thing to keep in mind, is that short wheelbase tow vehicles don't behave well towing long trailers.
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

We love our 3500 Diesel, Dodge Ram, extended cab, duelly, with a long bed. But we pull a 38 foot travel trailer, not a fifth wheel. But, I'm sure it would do a marvelous job on pulling a fifth wheel. Oh and welcome to the forum! I'm jealous you get to full-time so young, lol.



Senior Member
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

I could be wrong. But can you even get a short bed on a dually? Think you would prefer a long bed truck with the size 5th wheels you are looking at. It sure would ride better. DL, If they are ordering new it may be an 08 with the 6.4 motor. They are out already :eek: . Welcome to the forum Michelle, and keep us posted on you're progress.

C Nash

Senior Member
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

The new 6.4 has twin turbos and they say it's a hoss. My ford mechanics say they are not having problems with the 6.0 but, they probably don't want to tell a old chevy guy about their problems :laugh: Did tell me that those that added chips and boosted the turbo pressure were having problems. :(
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

To answer Shadow: Yes, you can get a short bed Dually. Ford has done it for years, GM started offering it last year and I do believe you can get a Dodge, Just ask DL.... :laugh:

As far as the 6.4, it will have to prove itself. Personally I think the '08 Ford is the UGLIEST truck on the road.

My employee who has truly had little trouble with his '03 6.0 liter is singing a different tune now. His engine has started blowing blue smoke this week and not running correctly until it gets hot. I suspect the turbo as far as the blue smoke (oil). :(
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Hey DL - where can I find the old posts on the Ford Diesels? I'd love to saunter on over, but I haven't a clue where to go. it a brain fart moment. :laugh:

Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

My brain *must* be damaged, because I spent 10 minutes responding to what all of you had written and hit "reply", only to be unable to find my post here. Argh. Well, here I go again...

Wow. I'm only slightly surprised by everyone's willingness to jump to my aid. THANK YOU everyone for your time and for sharing your thoughts. In our travels humping it in a tent across the country (when time permitted) - we'd always found that campers were a friendly crowd. Over the last near 14 years I've read about full-timing and full-timers, again as time permitted, and the central theme written has always been that full-timers are a loving tribe of people. You've all proven that up nicely by not only efforting to help us in our prep phase, but by welcoming me to the forum so warmly. As I sit to write I've that warm and fuzzy feeling I hope will only grow as we continue to meet and make friends with those among the full-timing tribe.

Thanks, Hertig for taking time to write at such length about your experience(s). I imagined the slider to be a hassle, but what can I say? While I'm maure minded compared to most my age, I'm not immune from the female instinct to gravitate toward the beauty of an object. While driving a shortbed is probably slightly easier to navigate than a longbed, the real reason everyone wants a shortbed is for its aestetic. I suppose it could be said that the $55,000 we're forced to pay for the only Ford F350 we even somewhat liked nauseates me. I guess I wanted this outrageous expense and beast of a car to at least be sporty and attractive. And I agree, Fords are the single ugliest trucks on the road. But then I shouldn't weigh in on that discussion, I'm not a big fan of trucks. I'm glad to read that you haven't any bad experience with a slider. I'll have to chew on the hassle factor, because my husband is an ER nurse, and he's transitioning into a travel nurse position which will have us traveling to whatever destination we like every 13 weeks. We plan to remain in this lifestyle hereafter, so the hassle of a thing needs to be weighed. I'll chew on it. And it seems Hertig you agree with our salesman that the only responsible thing to do is buy the longbed.

Now as to trucks - I'm totalling surprised to read that a couple of you have such disdain for Ford. I thought I'd put that lone decision to bed. I wasn't even considering any other truck at this stage. I felt solid on that decision, which took me weeks to arrive at. We actually started out looking at the Dodge trucks - this only because I think they have a sportier appearance (see a theme here?) :laugh: Now as luck would have it, they don't stock dually's at any Dodge dealerships out here, so we couldn't even look at them. We went over to Ford and they had a right many dually's on the lot for us to get a handle on. The reasons we went with Ford were these...

-My Uncle Larry (A Fire Chief and certified redneck) has owned nothing but trucks in his life. He's owned Dodge, Chevy and several different Fords. He told me that the Ford is easily superior to the rest. He added that the Ford is a much quieter ride from the inside. I'll have to admit, though - with Larry this could be a Texas cultural thing with Ford.
-My internet research seemed to show that the Fords routinely outrank both Dodge and Chevy in terms of towing and overall satisfaction. And I could be mistaken, but what I found online is that Fords have the highest tow-ability. Am I wrong?
-My first car was a Dodge Neon. Now hear me people when I say that this was a brand new car, and from the second month it became nothing short of a living nightmare. I kid you not, no one has a more ghastly car history than I did in my three years with that Dodge. None. To read it talked of you'd think I was fibbing. It was that bad. So yeah...Dodge hasn't won any awards with me. Ick. I wouldn't have even given the Dodge truck the first glance were I not to have thought them the sportier look. I like a car with bite to it. I like her to look mean (grrr). :evil: :laugh: And the Fords look every shade of ugly.

Thanks Grandview, Nash, Texas, 730 and DL for trying to help a gal out. I welcome any additional feedback from any among the full-timing community. I'll read every one many times over, you can be sure.

I hope to read from any who've lived in any of the three Montanas I've listed. The idea of losing our entire 14-year savings on what is to be our full-time *home*, only to have her fail us or become a source of continual problems keeps me awake at night of late. Also has me cursing like a sailor. :evil: I'm sure ya'll can remember how dreadful your very first purchase was. So many options, features - and you don't know what any of the features even are at this stage. It's overwhelming, and has kept me frozen in this decision-making phase for weeks now. We simply cannot afford to lose everything we've saved because either our truck or our RV proves to be the lemon that Dodge was.

Snowbird and are too kind. Thank you for the warm welcome. Imagine me seated here with this hugely dorky grin on my face. That about sums it up. :laugh: And Snowbird? You've no cause for envy. Our ability to full-time at this age is the result of three things: 1) we elected not to have children, 2) when all of our friends were out spending money, buying fabulous toys and homes, we were renting on campus and going without, and 3) my husband will continue to be an ER nurse, and his profession affords us an opprotunity to bridge him over to travel nursing, which pays laughably well. Without any one of the above, we'd be saddled here. It has served both of us just real well that neither of us is slave to consumerism, and we could not care less about the Joneses. ;) So the last 14 years certainly held little to be envied in our cosm. But soon? Ahhh yes,'ll be a whole new world for us.

I count the days.

And Shadow - I know, I was shocked to be informed that they could not order a 2007 for me at Ford. I went in the first week of January, and due to their changes in design, they had already cut off the 2007's and when ordering, you must order an '08. I was surprised, too. I was O.K. with it only because the new deisgn includes a navigation system in the dash, and believe me when I say if ever there was a dame who needed a nav. system ->>here I am.

So I've bored everyone enough. Did I forget to say THANK YOU ALL? :laugh: Keep 'em coming folks, and I'll read/listen/weigh every word - because on something like really takes one who's lived it to speak on it.

Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Texan_Travelers, Michelle, ya'll cain't be from Texas ... ya say too many words too fast! ;) :laugh:

These people with the Ford 6.0 problem haven't been saying anything about the cab or how quiet a Ford is. Maybe you can stick an engine in it from a Dodge or Chevy?! :eek:

Any new product is only as good as the dealer that supports it! Doesn't matter if its a truck, RV, or a TV. If you can't service it yourself, then you have to pick the right people that can. Even if you have to buy it in the next town or two down the road!

The only lesson to learn is to ask BEFORE you buy! :)


Senior Member
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

She must be from Texas. Uncle Larry is a redneck and drives a ford. After all Ford is the number one selling truck in Texas. ;) Then again we don't have a lot of mountains to climb. :laugh: Michelle, you and you're husband need to test drive all of the big three. See how they handle, vision thru all the windows and mirrors. And comfort. If you find the truck you two agree on then check on a dealer to buy it from. Good service after the sale will make ownership a good thing or a nightmare. Same thing applies to the 5th wheel you are going to buy. Take care and best of luck.....

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

All 3 of the 08 diesels have NEWLY DESIGNED DIESEL engines to meet the new EPA standards and should be suspect for the next 2 years until all the flaws are worked out. I still wouldn't trust the Ford since International probably designed their latest diesel catastrophe. :laugh: :laugh: :evil:
Sorry I got all worked up about FORDS and forgot to mention that the Montana RV's seem to have a good reputation in their price range. Good luck with the Full-timing. We started at 51 and that wasn't nearly soon enough. Been sidetracked for the last couple of years, but it looks like we will be on the road again in MAY. :approve:
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

I have recently guided several diehard Ford owners into GMC diesels. They are all very happy with their new trucks. One guy traded a 6.0 diesel Excursion for a 2007 Crew Cab GMC dually. He can't believe his new truck, especially at cold start up. He is used to his Ford rattling and smoking until warm. He can't believe his GMC just starts and is ready to go. No rattling, no smoking. He told me the other day that on a fast take off, his rear tires spun, he can't get over the power.

Go ahead and drive all three. Start them the at the same temp. drive them until they are at operating temp., compare power, feel the ride and listen closely. Ford won't be on top of the list.

I gave them a fair shake. I bought three F-350's. Won't ever have another. They ride the roughest, are the loudest. When I drive my GMC 600 miles in a day, I can get out and feel alive. When I drove my Ford's that far, I could not stand up because my back hurt so much. I won't even get into trying to keep them out of the shop.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Hey Michelle, did you read all 8 pages on the Ford 6.0L diesels. The thread usually comes up on the last page of the posts, but in this case there are 8 pages of complaints. The 08 Ford Diesel may be wonderful, but International is owned by Ford so I'm sure they will be the designer of the new dual turbo Ford diesel engine. Not good since they designed the 6.0L Power Stroke that is really bad news. Also, twin turbo's just mean you have an extra turbo that may go out. Turbo's were one of the main problems with the older Ford diesels. Just

If I were buying a new diesel truck right now I would look for a NEW 06 model Dodge or GM and give the new diesel designs at least a year to iron out the problems they will all have..
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Evening, DL ~ Don't worry your pretty head about getting worked up about the Fords in your reply. Gotta love a man with a passionate take on something. And starting out at 51 is better than most folks can swing. I did actually read every one of the 8 pages of comments/complaints about the Fords. All I can say is "Wow". Eeek. Grrr. Argh. Hmph. I hope ya'll have so much fun this go 'round in May that you break something.

I'm about to do a little research on the Dodge and Chevy's. I want a fair point of comparison. I can say that on (the first place I looked) it looks as if folks are complaining about the Duramax, too, though this is at first glance. I plan to delve in and actually read as much as I can stomach tonight. This week we're headed out to re-examine the Dodge, take a gander at the Duramax, etc. I'm miffed, because I was feeling good that of all the least the car selection was made. Now as it turns out...not. Wish I could find a truck I both liked and trusted. Seems I'm not going to be able to find a truck that people somewhere aren't hating. Bet I find complaints about all three, though I sure hope it's not to the extent that I've read here about the Fords. It appears I need a wee miracle here in the eleventh hour. And before I forget to ask...where would I find a new '06 Dodge? It's true I don't have much experience with cars, having only purchased two in my life, but I thought everyone would have pulled those off their lots by now for the '07's. Am I wrong?

Shadow ~ We plan on driving everything again this week. Unfortunately, this is our first truck and first diesel. Bad news. Two novice can't tell much of a truck from driving it a few minutes. And my people? They're all back home in Texas and we moved up to Richmond, Virginia 2.5 years ago. So we're flying with only one another, both ignorant baffoons, no less (laughing). I don't know how much our dealer can help in our situation, because we'll be buying here locally, and then promptly leaving to travel the country. We won't be returning to Virginia. Not ideal for a car purchase, I know.

And oughta be ashamed to pick on one of your own like this. :laugh: Course I'm Texan. I'm one of Texas' new breed ~ a hybrid of redneck and scholar. Truth is, Texan has been home to brainy folks all along. 'Twas a well kept secret is all. :clown: :evil: :laugh: Now don't make me flog you for making fun of my long-windedness (character flaw). How could I neglect to address everyone, right?

Grandview...I'm going to have to do just that. Lord knows I don't need endless back aches in those 40-hour drives from one state to the other (or worse). In fact, we'll be headed out to see your Duramax this week. Neither of us had ever even heard of it. Who knows...maybe it'll be the lone truck I see and step in and say "Eureka! This is the baby for me". I'm willing to give anything a fair shake. Dodge is the only one I cringe at because of the headaches and poverty that Neon inflicted on us. A plague of locusts would have been easier to navigate and overcome. :laugh:

Again, thanks folks. I'm grateful. I plan to read here daily until the purchase is made. I guess the rest is comprised of crossed fingers and toes - black magic chants and secret rituals in the hopes that whatsoever truck we choose proves the right one. :evil: :laugh: :clown:

Sleep well all,
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

I did not realize you were in Richmond.

I am just 3-3 1/2 hours away. The local dealer I purchased from has quite a good selection of the GMC Classic Dually's.

The new diesel regulations did not kick in until Jan. 1st. After GM stopped making 2006's they made 2007 "classics", until then. The new engines will be in the 2008's and are in the new body style.

IF you are interested, I know you won't get a better deal in Richmond. Everything is more expensive there. (I have people coming to me for trailers.)

Our local Dodge dealer does not have a dually on his lot, but again, the GMC dealership probably has 10 or 12 diesels right now. He did not get all of them direct from GM. A lot came from Southern Coach. Running boards, chrome grill inserts, and chrome door handle covers have been added. He did that, just so he would have inventory, not depending on GM.

IF you are interested, let me know and I can private message you their phone number and give you a contact.
Re: Preparing to launch...a question for the pros

Now, Michelle see, I was right! You've been outta Texas for awhile. :approve:

You better take Ken up on that truck suggestion. We know him to be a straightshooter. You don't have much time left before those 'classic' ones go away. Ya gotta believe!

I have a brother-in-law here in Texas that swears by those Duramax GMCs, too. (No offence, DL! ;) )

When you buy your new truck, hitch it up to that RV and swing on down here for a little visit ... ;)