It is very disappointing to read about all the trouble folks are having with the GSESP. I have a 2012 Heartland 5th Wheel and my manufactures warranty runs out next month; so I went to the Good Sam website and got a quote on their Extended Service Plan.
I have not purchased it yet, thought I’d read some reviews first, and what I’m finding here as well on other websites says that I probably will not purchase it. Better as someone suggested just to put the money in a savings account, and learn how to fix a lot of the issues myself. After all, as a full-timer, this rig is my home and when I had a house I did not call a repair person every time something stopped working.
Although I must say that it is good to see someone from Good Sam/Camping World responding to these posts and in most cases saying that they can remedy a lot of the problems people are having.
I went from a conversion van, to a popup tent trailer, to a travel trailer, to a 5th Wheel, and primarily because a 5th wheel offer the space that I want.
1. You do not need to get a diesel truck to tow a 5th Wheel. I have a Heartland prowler 5th Wheel, GVWR 11k and I tow it very comfortably with a 2012 Ford F-150 with a V6 Ecoboost engine; towing capacity 11.5k.
2. My Ford F-150 with the max tow package and Ecoboost engine is a V6 that runs on unleaded gas and when towing I get between 10 & 11 miles/gal. and when not towing 22 to 26 miles/gal.
3. It is easier to tow a 5th Wheel then it is to tow a conventional travel trailer; especially backing up, and if you get the newer Slider-type hitch it does all the work for you.
4. Just like anything else, the more you do it the better you will get at it, and it is no different with hooking up and unhooking a 5th Wheel. I store things in the bed of my truck even while towing, and they do not get in the way. I also have a Tonneau cover over my truck bed to keep things out of sight when not towing.
As you can probably tell I love my 5th Wheel and F-150 Truck; been full-timing with them for about a year now and I have no complaints.
Over about a 7-year period I refined by full-timing plans. Started with a popup tent trailer camping in it for 30 to 60 days at a time, then moved to a hard-side small conventional trailer which did not accommodate me on long stays either. Then I purchased a 5th Wheel which I feel right at home in full-timing.
I think that the type of unit is important in any full-time plans. My plans also included what type of campgrounds I would frequent while full-timing, i.e. state parks, national parks, private resorts, boon-docking, etc., and also in my case military bases as I am a veteran. I have a Good Sam Club card, camping discount cards from various states and the Golden Access card for National parks. I also have 2-Honda generators and a portable sewer in case I want to go places where there are no hookups.
A big decision was what to do with my house; rent it out for and extra income or sell it and be done with it. It was also helpful to make up a possible full-time budget, and leave room for savings in case I wanted to stop full-timing at some point. Medical reasons, poor eyesight, etc., might dictate how long a person can full-time. Of course all of this is dependant on whether you are traveling solo or with a partner. In my opinion it is never too early to start planning and the more you plan the more you can refine those plans. But don’t be surprised if things don’t work out as planned.
Wes, As I stated in my pm I am leaving tomorrow on a 30-day RV trip and will not be back until mid-January. But the issue that needs to be repaired on my RV is minor and my trip will not exacerbate it. I would be appreciative if someone from the store e-mailed me and we can set something up for when I return. I most likely will have intermittent internet access depending on wifi hotspot coverage but I am willing to work with the service department on this; after all it has been two months since it was told me that they would order a part and take care of it. I have been into the store 3-times since with no resolution. It’s a little tricky when you are dealing with RV’ers who have made travel plans, etc. Thank you for your efforts.
I want to thank Wes Robinson and the Good Sam Care Team for their offer of help. I have sent the information requested. It is not my intention to rant about what problems I’ve encountered at Camping World; rather I just wanted to share something about human character when problems do arise.
It may sound like a cliché but there is some truth to the saying that it is not so much what life does to you as it is how you react to what life does to you, another way to say it is that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of what you do about it.
Most people go their entire life reacting to things and spend very little if any time at all being proactive. I think we hear much more about complaints than we do about complements. My philosophy is that it is easier to find something wrong than it is to find something that is right.
Getting upset hurts me much more than it does the people or person I am upset with. It raises my blood pressure and causes me to tense up. While the person I am mad at may be out on the beach enjoying themselves.
When I was in the army and went thru inspections they would always find something wrong; even if I purchased all new stuff they would still find something wrong. So I try to have a balanced perspective and try to see good constructive things that may come out of otherwise “bad” conditions. But like I said it does not always work that way, sometimes I loose my temper, and get a failing grade.
I am trying very hard to be fare with the Camping World Service Department at the Vacaville, California store. I understand that managers receive more complaints from customers than they do compliments.
Most of the time I have received very good service from them but every now and then they are lacking. I understand that they are dealing with the public and that can be trying; they deal with all sorts of attitudes from customers daily.
About 80% to 85% of the time I commend them but its’ that 15% to 20% that raises my blood pressure. Regardless, I can’t let the bad erase the good, especially when the good outweighs the bad. A person can do great things all their life and then do just one terrible thing and it is that thing which gets all of the attention.
On two occasions I was told by the service department that work had been done on my RV and the work had not been done. They told me that the work order said the work had been done but I showed them the RV and they told me that they had to order the part. It has been two months now and the work still has not been done.
Yes, I am frustrated but I understand that I have high standards which I expect others to meet. People are fallible and they are going by erroneous paperwork. I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is but one dark cloud on and otherwise sunny relationship I have had with Camping World. I recently renewed my Good Sam/Presidents’ Club membership for 5-years and hope to continue doing business with Camping World.
I think that there needs to be better communication between the people who are at the service department desk and the people who are actually doing the work on the RV. It seems to me that there is a lot of room for human error. Further I think that if the service department can not get hold of a person by phone they should look and see if that person has and e-mail on file and send them and e-mail.
I have received e-mails from the Camping World District Manager, the sales department at the Vacaville, CA store e-mailed me when I was purchasing my RV, as did the Business manager at that store, but the service department said they tried to call me but got no answer. My relationship with Camping World has deteriorated but I do understand that it only takes one incident for that to happen.
I may be receiving excellent care from all of the departments in the store except for one, and that one department can ruin it for the whole store. I consider this a test of patience and tolerance, in the past I have been known to fail such tests, but lately I have been doing better at it and hopefully my situation will be efficiently and effectively resolved.
I have a 2012 Ford F-150 with Ecoboost and the Max Tow Package and it comfortably pulls up to 11,300 lbs. I pull my 10k lb. GVWR 5th Wheel travel trailer with my F-150 and it has power to spare. Plus the gas mileage is great and the engine is very quiet, unlike many diesels.
I am determined not to drive more than 200 miles in a day before stopping at a campground. I am a planner and plan my road trips usually between 130 and 175 miles before I stop for at least a couple of nights at and RV campground which I have previously made reservations for. I do not have any one night stands. I take my time because the journey is more important than the destination and I make it so that all of my overnight stops are planned, and they last more than one night.
Half Moon Bay State Beach is $35/night and it is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a disability pass you can camp at a 50% discount; although the “Golden Bear Pass, Limited Golden Bear Pass, and Distinguished Veteran Pass allows the bearer to camp in California State Parks for free. California also has State park campgrounds that only cost $10 or $15/day, but not in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Some states, like Oregon, will give you a discount camping pass even if you are not a resident of that state. My legal residence is in California but Oregon State parks sent me a discount pass when I applied online and I have gone camping in Oregon using that discount pass. There are other states which also do this. If you are going to look for strictly private campgrounds you will definitely pay a lot of money for camping.
Thank you for the discussion. I have learned a great deal from all of the pros and cons. I was just curious because I had seen the gooseneck ball on some 5th wheel travel trailers and when I talked to those campers about it they would tell me that the ball is easier and handles better than the 5th wheel hitch plate. Everyone has their personal preferences and I don’t expect for everyone to agree on which is best.
Prior to purchasing my 5th wheel I had a conventional travel trailer with a ball hitch hookup but now having the 5th wheel with the Pull-Rite hitch I find hooking up, towing, and backing up much easier than I did with the conventional trailer and its’ ball hitch. But that is just my experience and I’m sure others may have found in their experience that the ball hitch is much better. No thought police here!
Again, thanks for the input and spirited discussion.
If your RV needs to go into the shop for a few days or even a week or so where do you stay during that time? I would guess that most full-timers stay in a hotel or motel which their full-timers RV insurance pays for, but I was wondering what others might do?
I was thinking of buying a nice tent so if I had to put my 5th wheel in the shop I could still camp at the location where I was or get a campsite that allowed tents. It is my experience that sometimes the RV repair shops will take a week or more to fix even minor issues and if you are a full-timer or hundreds of miles from relatives, etc. this is something to be prepared for.
Someone told me that Camping World allowed RV owners to sleep in their rig overnight after the shop had closed and then leave in the morning when they resumed work on the RV. So how would you handle it if your home on wheels had to go into the shop for a week or so?
County, State, and Federal campgrounds are usually cheaper than private campgrounds and I usually find these types of campgrounds in wonderful locations. Here in California Half Moon Bay State Beach, New Brighton State Beach and Morrow Bay State Park all have RV campgrounds that are right next to the ocean, and there are others as well.
The major reason I stay in California, or on the west coast, is because of the very diverse landscape for camping. You can find RV campgrounds in the high Sierra Mountains, Mount Diablo, etc. or in the Mojave Desert, right alongside the ocean, or amongst the Redwood Forrest; in the wine valleys, etc. But I rarely, if ever, go to a private campground. Used to go to KOA but really did not like it and it was rather expensive.
If you have a disability or are over 62 years old you can get a discount pass for many State Parks that have campgrounds with full-hookups. This is true in Oregon, California, and some other States. You can also get a Golden Access Pass if you are 62 or over which will allow you to camp at half price in Federal campgrounds like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. Having A Good Sam, or other discount card, may also help with private RV campgrounds.
As a military veteran I also use military campgrounds which are rather inexpensive and are located on various military bases. I favor County, State, and Federal campgrounds which for the most part are very nice and well patrolled by law enforcement. They do have limits on how long you can stay, most have a consecutive 14-day maximum stay but there is no metered electricity, at least I haven’t found any. So how long you wish to stay, in my opinion, should also be a factor.
I use military campgrounds if I wish to stay put for a long period of time; some of them will allow you to stay up to 180-days without metered electricity and a lot of their campsites also have cable TV hookups and free wifi. There are a variety of ways that a person, military or not, who is a full-timer can keep their camping expenses low or at least within a reasonable budget.
P.S. Getting a Flying-J Pilot Consumer Card may also help when buying gas. They usually offer a discount if you have their card. Some Indian reservations also have discounted tax-exempt gas. Once you get out there on a full-time basis you will discover creative ways to get your needs met, including financial needs and expenses.
I have been pulling a Heartland Prowler with my Ford F-150 with Ecoboost and a max tow package for many months now without any problems what so ever. My F-150 when towing has power to spare and it brakes very well also. I have taken it over mountain passes, etc. and it performs just fine. My 5th Wheel GVWR is 10,000 lbs but I still have a bunch of empty cabinets, etc. in my trailer and know that it is not at its' capacity. I also get good gas mileage when towing.
I am rather new to the 5th Wheel world and have seen some fiver’s with a ball hitch installed in the bed of their truck. Do you think the ball hitch is more reliable than the standard 5th Wheel Hitch, or is it just a matter of a better fit?
I guess I’m asking why some prefer the ball hitch for their 5th Wheel over the standard 5th Wheel hitch?
I have a 2012 Ford F-150 with Ecoboost and a max tow package; I had a state of the art Pull-Rite hitch installed in my F-150 and it does a great job towing my 2012 Heartland 5th Wheel. The GVWR on my 5th Wheel is 10k lbs. My F-150 will pull up to 11.3k.
I got and automatic hitch and that was something I appreciated when buying a hitch. I did not want to get a manual hitch that I had to physically adjust. My Pull-Rite Hitch is fully automatic and is 100% compatible with my rig and Ford F-150.
My hitch was purchased and installed at Camping World and they did a good job. I think that and RV dealer has more knowledge about this than a car dealership. I got all sorts of inaccurate info about towing from the auto dealership when I purchased my 2012 F-150 and much more accurate info from the RV dealership.
In March 2013 I will be starting a full-time RVing lifestyle and I am currently looking at various full-time RV Insurance products. I am strongly considering Good Sam but I do think that GMAC is more expensive than other companies, like Progressive, who I currently have regular non-full-time RV insurance with.
I am willing to pay a little bit more money for full-time insurance, especially if it has unique features. But I don’t like what I am reading here about GMAC doing automatic price increases. I currently have Nationwide on my tow vehicle, a 2012 F-150, and Nationwide has a “vanishing deductible” which I really like. I will take a long hard look at Good Sam/GMAC before making a decision on where to purchase my full-timers insurance.
I like Good Sam/Camping World; purchased my 2012 Heartland 5th Wheel from them and a bunch of accessories to go with that 5th Wheel. I know that my insurance will be less expensive if I bundle my trailer and tow vehicle insurance at the same insurance company but I am a little concerned about having all of my eggs in one basket.