Where to start? Help!

My wife and I have an opportunity to travel without time limit. We are selling our home (coincidental) and are interested in a 5th wheel/diesel pickup combination. We know NOTHING about this kind of purchase - not about 5th wheels or other RVs or the "right" pickup. We now live in Houston, home of PPL Motorhomes that has a decent selection of RVs, and we have inspected those. We have spoken with a private seller of an Alfa Gold who feels it has no equal. He tows it with a 1T Chevy diesel dually". Question: Where do I start research to educate myself on the brands of 5th wheels that are preferred or sought after and ditto for a pickup. I'm leaning toward a used Dodge 1 ton Cummins dually. Help!! (Have we lost our minds?)

Also, if you have strong opinions about the benefits of a different type of RV, such as a class A motorhome, I would appreciate hearing them. I'm pretty sure it would be preferable to buy a diesel (VERY expensive). I would have more flexibility on the towed vehicle, and not be limited to driving a 1 ton dually every time I unhook in an RV park. Thanks in advance for your (preferably objective) comments that we can used to get started.
RE: Where to start? Help!

PPL is a good place to good place to visit and see what is out there. They turn a lot of RVs, all types. You can sign up for email notification when they add new RVs to their inventory or reduce the price on an RV.

eBay is also a good place to check out rigs. Right now there is an auction for a 5th wheel and a diesel truck. Here are two feeds you might want to bookmark: eBay RVs for sale (closing soon) and eBay Travel Trailers (closing soon) .

Please check the library on my website on the PDF page for some ebooks on towing safety, RV tire safety. Also, the new RV Scrapbook is a fun place to find information and meet people in your area. My husband and I reside in San Marcos, but all my family lives in Houston.

If I could buy a diesel right now, I think I would go for this and spend less on gas. This could go anywhere

You save by buyig a used rig, up to 50% for RVs that have less than 50,000 miles on them.

You have to decide what you want to do: Drive a truck with fifthwheel, drive a diesel pusher motorhome and drag a car around, buy a compact diesel that will go anywhere. Other options are to drag a trailer with boat and motorcycles, or buy a toy hauler and share your space with your toys.

You could rent an RV and check it out before you buy. See how big a rig you want, the countryside and experience backing into a campsite! :laugh:

Take your time because it could be your last home.
Re: Where to start? Help!

Look at Crestview RV. They have a place in San Marcos and one in Buda (south of Austin on I-35 next to Cabellas - you have to visit Cabellas).

I have dealt with them on small RV accessories and their campground. They seem like helpful folks. Happy employees are a good sign.
RE: Where to start? Help!

I can't help you as my husband and I are pretty much in the same boat and researching what to buy. I just wanted to say that in the almost two years we have been looking (at first just wishing and now getting serious) every dealer feels like his product "has no equal". We have been told so many things our heads are spinning. Finally one dealer recommended we check into RV.org. It is a consumer group that rates RVs. They used to publish a book, but now it is on computer software. Kind of expensive ($160 for both the motorhome and fifth wheel software), but we felt that it was worth it since an RV of any kind is a major purchase. We have had several dealers say negative things about RV.org, but were told (and turned out to be true) that the dealers who don't like it have low ratings on their products. We just received our CDs in the mail yesterday and it has really been an eye opener. Several things that we liked and were considering had ratings of 1 or 1 1/2 out of 5 so now we feel like we are back to the drawing board.
Good luck.


DL Rupper

Senior Member
RE: Where to start? Help!

I vote for the Dodge Cummins Diesel with a nice medium sized 5th Wheel. I prefer the single tire on the rear axel opposed to the dually as they are eaiser to park when you don't have the 5'er behind you. Just my opinon based on RV'ing 11 years with a Dodge 3/4 ton Diesel and a 30', 2 slide 5'er. You need to get a book on full-time RV'ing to get a good idea of all the things you need to know when you are on the road. They provide good useful info regardless whether you full-time or part-time. Good luck. :)
RE: Where to start? Help!

Cybercelt, Many thanks for you valuable insights and for the online tips. We will certainly look over those sites. Since posting my questions on this site, I have received more input from someone who has owned two motorhomes and has used a 5th wheel. He makes a convincing argument for the motorhome even though he started out wanting a 5th wheel until his wife voted... He thinks buying a used, high-end brand offers several advantages, as he feels those are owned by folks who have the funds to maintain them properly and are likely to better care for it overall. At this point, I'm not willing to invest $100K, at least not until I'm more knowledgable about what the heck I'm doing.

Always a pleasure receiving messages from another Texas!

Thanks again!
Re: Where to start? Help!

Hello TexasClodhopper!

Thanks for your suggestions. We'll make it a point to look up the one in Buda since we go to Austin somewhat regularly (new first-time grandparents!)

Best regards.
RE: Where to start? Help!

Thanks Gellins!

Misery loves company!? Will take your suggestion about the RV.org website.
How do you feel about the objectivity of the CD? Do you feel the info there is more valid than you get elsewhere? We don't know what to believe! Sorry to sound cynical - but, like yours, our heads are spinning too.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
RE: Where to start? Help!

Thank you for your suggestion and insights. I'm more inclined toward the Dodge Cummins than others. I hear/read only positive comments on the Cummins.

C Nash

Senior Member
Re: Where to start? Help!

5th wheel or class A depends on how you will be traveling. If you are staying in one spot for extendes stay a fiver might serve you best. Traveling and short stays a MH might be best. If you are having to buy tow vehicle and 5 th wheel price will not be much different. Toads can be found pretty cheap and get good MPG for all the sight seeing if that is in the travels. With a MH you can pull into wally world for short night rest and not even have to go outside. Pretty important in todays goofy world. Be sure and call ahead to see if Wally will allow but most of the time there will be others there. Downside on MH is if you break down you have to find a place to stay if on the road but keep good road service and they will pay for lodgeing. With a fiver if tow vehicle breaks you still have a place to stay. More usable room in same length fiver. Do you enjoy driving a big rig? 102 inches gets pretty wide on some bridges and roads. I prefer MH for our use ha ha thats a laugh because it's sitting out here in the yard and I'm having to wait for knee surgery :angry: Go with the diesel if the budget allows either way you go. Truck will tow better and MH will ride much better. Just a few things that have wandered through my mind and AJMO :)
Re: Where to start? Help!

Thank you! You've given me some additional considerations. I appreciate having your point of view.

Sorry you need knee surgery. My son operates a "surgical navigation" computer driven program that is used by some of the more more advanced Orthos in the U.S. and in Europe. The advantage to you is that it removes the guess work or "Kentucky Windage from the preparation and placement of the prosthesis. It is amazing to see some of the statistics (produced by third parties) revealing how many knee and hip replacements are off by a degree or two simply because the surgeon didn't have a more sophisticated system for installing the prosthesis. Those one or two degrees, for example can have exponential consequences on you gait, your range of motion and can produce a "bow" leg that can be a consequence of a placement that is a little bit off. You could look up the company's website Aesculap or BraunUSA that might shed a little light on the subject. In any case you probably would want to ask your Ortho about the use of computer mapping for knee prosthesis placement. Best of luck to you and thanks again.

C Nash

Senior Member
Re: Where to start? Help!

Thanks Clodhopper lot of info there. Birmingham is supposed to be one of the best and the doctor Lemax does all the Auburn and Alabama football players injuries. Bet I could say I was a Auburn football player and they would get me today.

Archer, Doc is still trying to determin cause of pain so is sending me to MRI whenever. He thinkes it's a torn ligament. Probably wind up being old age and guess no surgery can fix that :laugh: Guess the moderator better make a medical forum post for us oldies :laugh: