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Old 07-24-2009, 08:08 AM   #1
mikki'smom
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advice for empty nesters

My husband and I are retired, empty-nesters who are VERY interested in purchasing a RV, but we honestly have more questions than answers. Please share your wealth of information...some of the questions are...
1. pull behind or fifth wheel
2. we have a 1500 truck...is that too small
3. should we buy new or used
4. what brands should we look for or avoid
5. do they leak
6. what features are a must....what are a waste

And ... since we obviously don't know what we're doing....what questions should we be asking ourselves and the sales people?

Thanks
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:58 AM   #2
becky1960
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I guess a question back should be Budget size and how much travel, we have a 5th wheel with a Crew cab Diesel that handles fine. A 1500 would probably be ok for a Pull behind TT. Older Rv's will have more problems such as leaks.
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:13 AM   #3
DaveInTN
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See my responses in blue below...
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikki'smom View Post
My husband and I are retired, empty-nesters who are VERY interested in purchasing a RV, but we honestly have more questions than answers. Please share your wealth of information...some of the questions are...
1. pull behind or fifth wheel See #2.
2. we have a 1500 truck...is that too small A 1/2 ton, or 1500, truck is more than up to the task to pull many Travel Trailers, and a few fifth wheels. The majority of 5th wheels are too heavy, in weight and pin weight (what sits on the truck bed) for a 1/2 ton truck. Unless you plan on upgrading your tow vehicle, I would focus my search on travel trailers. Be sure you know your truck's capacities before you begin shopping. If you post more specifics on your actual truck model you'll be able to get better advice on the truck's capabilities.
Also, whatever route you go, be sure to have a proper hitch set up with weight distribution and anti-sway systems.

3. should we buy new or used You can typically get better deals on used, but you are then potentially inheriting someone else's problems. It's a great way to go to save money if you think you are qualified to perform a thorough inspection, or if you know someone with the knowledge to do so for you.
4. what brands should we look for or avoid That's somewhat a loaded question...as opinions vary greatly depending on what people own. I've never owned one, but most owners of Jayco trailers will give positive opinions. but, there are a lot of brands that have fans.
5. do they leak As a rule, no. If a trailer leaks then it has issues. I'm on my 3rd RV (pop up, trailer, and now a motorhome) and have never had a leak. If you buy new, this should not be an issue as any leak would be a factory defect or caused by damage in transit, in either case you wouldn't buy that unit or, if noticed after sale, would be covered under warranty. These cases should be extremely rare! For a used trailer, a THOROUGH inspection, in particular in the front and rear corners, should identify any leaks. You would likely see evidence of sponginess in the walls, ceiling and/or floors. If you ever see this while shopping, RUN AWAY.
6. what features are a must....what are a waste That depends a lot on the type of camping you plan on doing. One thing almost everyone would agree on is to select a floorplan with slides. They extend out and provide a HUGE amount of floorspace when camping. Floorplan is the biggest determining factor to most on whether an RV will work for them or not, and only you can determine that. Walk through lots of them before making any decisions. Some will feel right, some won't fit your lifestyle. Also, make sure anything you buy has enough storage, both inside and underneath the unit. As you walk through a unit, imagine yourself living in it for a week or more. Where would you put your dishes and food? Is there enough space to hang clothes and put sweaters and such in drawers? Is the shower big enough for you? this sounds odd...but sit on the toilet. Is there enough leg room? Things like that can make a trailer work or not.

And ... since we obviously don't know what we're doing....what questions should we be asking ourselves and the sales people? You should make sure you don't overpay! A big mistake newbies make is to not negotiate well enough. Unlike with autos, there isn't a lot of comparative data online to help you, although there is some. if buying new, you can always negotiate a big percentage off MSRP. These days it is not uncommon to see folks paying 30% off of MSRP. Some even more depending on the model. Before signing on the dotted line, take the time to go home and ask folks on this site, or on RV.net forum, for advice. You could literally save yourself thousands of dollars by getting the right information.

Thanks
Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:41 PM   #4
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Thank you, Dave. That was wonderful.

Right off the top of my head I have one more question. What is your opinion of the "aluminum/light" trailer?
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:42 PM   #5
disneydawgs
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We started out w/a Coleman pop-up, then went to travel trailer, now we do tents. Why? Storage fees. We did not use it enough to pay between 700 to 800 dollars a year to store it. However, my wife liked the outdoor stove and the outdoor shower. It had an indoor shower and toilet also. Keeps the inside clean. Hey' if mama ain't happy then no body is happy. I look for storage and if I get another it will be self leveling. We stored the pop up in our garage but the TT would not fit and the neighborhood does not let cars much less TTto be left in your driveway. For us I wish I still had the pop-up. Easy to pull, its basically just an really nice tent plus some extras like a radio, tv, stove, microwave, AC, furance, sink, and enough storage to leave our camping stuff in it year around. Well, thats my 2 cents. There are campers on this board who know alot about this stuff so keep asking. They been doing this for decades.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:58 AM   #6
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Very well said DAVEINTN My wife and I have been camping for years and have owned everything from a class C to tents right now we owne a TT thats a hybred (tents on each end of the unit) it has everything we need for long and short trips in fact we spend two months (Jan Feb) at the fort and never want for anything just remember the bigger the unit the more money and maitenace go's with it!!! My unit is 16ft when closed and 23ft when open and like I said I have all the comforts of home. You may want to rent one first to see if camping is for you that way you wont get stuck paying for something you don't like Good luck K.
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:03 AM   #7
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Wow, Dave, great response!

OP, I think you're in a good situation, too, if it'll be just the two of you camping -- I drool over the floorplans that don't have bunk beds in them! Bunk houses are great, but there are so many cool layouts without them. Have fun!
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by polkadotsuitcase View Post
Wow, Dave, great response!
Ditto!
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Old 07-25-2009, 07:46 AM   #9
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Buying an RV

May I suggest that you go over to rv.net and check out the information on those boards? You will find the answers to all of your questions and to questions that you didn't even know you should ask.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:16 AM   #10
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Have to agree with RV.net. We did all our research on 5th wheels over there before we got our Ti. 1500 is probably too small for a 5th wheel. Our brand says a 1500 can tow the smaller model (like ours), but I don't trust that unless you only plan to tow on flat ground. We love our 5th wheel. The extra height and living area make it feel much more like home. Towing is a breeze...nothing like towing TT (we had that prior to 5r and what a big difference). Just do your homework and go to some RV shows to look at different models. One bad thing with RV shows is that they only have brands sold local to your area so you may be missing some very good models. We also found you get what you pay for, so the cheaper 5rs and TT may seem a good deal, but could end up having more problems in the end.

One thing we really wanted was a frig with a thermostat so we could control the temp inside...cheaper models don't have that-it just adjusts itself based on the heat outside and it never seemed cool enough when we were at the fort with our TT (that's what it had). There are a lot of "little" things like that to look at.

If you go the motorhome route...do you have a vehicle to tow behind? If not, unless you break up your campsite you are stuck where you park...just another consideration.

We bought ours used in 2007. DH found it on e-bay. We new what brand we wanted (from years of research) and when he found it (and the model we wanted) we knew it was time. The dealer that had it was in GA and we drove from OH to pick it up. They installed our hitch and had us camp there for two nights so if anything was wrong they could fix it before we left. They were a great place to deal with. So if you go used from a dealer, see if you can camp in it for a night or two just in case some "little" things need fixed.

Good luck on whatever you choose, take your time looking and enjoy yourself
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:04 AM   #11
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Try locating a RV show near you.
This will allow you to look at different manfacturers, models, and classes all in one place.

We went to the RV show in Hershey PA when we decided to begin our search. Went in thinking TT and left knowing that we wanted either a Class C or Class A.

The RV show can be overwhelming so make sure that you take a digital camera to take pictures and a notepad to list the models info and the pros and cons. Also a great place to realize exactly how big the unit is inside when you have more than one family looking at it at the same time.

A few questions to ask yourself
Will the unit be used for short local trips or lengthy cross country? Will you be comfortable traveling longer distances in the truck?
Will any friends or family members join you during your adventures?

It is a hard decision. Take your time. Make sure that the floorplan is what you want.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:51 AM   #12
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We went last year to th Hershy RV show. I think they had just about every make there. We will be there again this year doing more research. We currently have a motorhome but looking for a new one when I retire to start fulltiming.
As far as what to buy examine your needs and wants.
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:06 PM   #13
mikki'smom
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Thanks so much for all your wonderful suggestions. I am keeping a list. Even though I am in Alabama, a trip to Hershey might be fun. Thanks again.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikki'smom View Post
Thanks so much for all your wonderful suggestions. I am keeping a list. Even though I am in Alabama, a trip to Hershey might be fun. Thanks again.
If you do, allow yourself some time to visit Gettysburg. It is about an hour away.
And Hersheypark is just a parking lot away.
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(me) Tina (DH) Jay (DD9) Kaelonnah (DS8) Cashton

Taking a break to let the FP+ dust settle and to bring the magic back- April 2014 will be offsite in a 3 bedroom townhouse, sleeping in, relaxing at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon with a day or two at Legoland mixed in. Spending our nights hitting local restaurants, playing at DisneyQuest, and wherever else we decide to go and do.


August 2013 Pop Century, April 2013 Fort Wilderness, Nov 2012 Pop Century, June 2012 Fort Wilderness, Mar 2012 Offsite, Aug 2011 Offsite,
Apr 2011 Pop Century, Oct 2010 Pop Century, Apr 2010 Fort Wilderness, Mar 2009 Pop Century, June 1997 Offsite, Dec 1996 Offsite
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:02 PM   #15
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hello mikki's mom my husband and I have just retired several months ago. I'm also in Alabama. My husband and I went to just look at a Jayco dealer. Well we bought a fifth wheel. It was just right for us.It had a room with four bunks for the four grandchildren. We have taken it out twice.
Had a few problems,but dealer fixed them very quickly. The camper now feels like home. We want to travel out west in the late spring. We love camping and always had hoped to get an rv to travel when we got old. Didn't think it would happen,but it did. We love,love,love,the Jayco. Hope you find the right one for you. Makes great memories for the grandkids. Good hunting.
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