So . . . I've read many posts about the Bilstein shocks and how good they are. But I had so few miles on my truck, I just couldn't get motivated to change the OEM shocks out. And I was reluctant to spend the money, fearing that it would seem wasted. This past winter, driving on and over snow and frozen slush finally gave me the motivation.
So I ordered them from Amazon, about $310 for a set of four for my 2012 King Ranch, and I must say: I should have done it a long time ago. Just adding my affirmation to what others have said, the improved ride is very noticeable. It's still a truck, but it doesn't lean in corners like it used to, it doesn't jerk me from side to side, and the unloaded back end doesn't hop all over the place as I go over potholes, etc.
I should have listened and done it long ago. Gotta remember: I've never gotten bad advice on this forum. BTW, my truck had only 26K miles on it. I may start putting more miles on it now. I used to go out of my way not to run errands locally with it because of the miserable ride, but it's quite tolerable, now.
I've been all over the country with Co-Pilot. It's better than any stand-alone GPS I've seen, regular map updates (free), quick and EASY. And for anyone thinking about buying a GPS device: the development funds are going into smart phones and pads, not GPS devices. I like Drive Motion-X best, but it is very data intensive, whereas Co-Pilot doesn't use data as you travel. Both are free.
Many of the other Apps mentioned are very good. I also like GS Camping (Good Sam), RV Parks, Park Finder, World Atlas.
For finding nearby places to eat, off the Interstate: Urban Spoon, Yelp.
Handy little level: DualLevel.
Entertainment: Netflix, Fandango, Amazon Instant Video, TV Guide, Flipboard, and of course Kindle.
Saving misc data and passwords: 1Password. It's free, and data is shared between an iphone and an ipad automatically. This is true also of Evernote, but it doesn't seem to offer the excellent password protection of 1Password. Evernote is great, though, for organizing data, like I have info on campgrounds and favorite sites, license plate numbers and renewal dates, non-critical passwords, favorite authors, a history of vacations taken and suggestions for the future, lists of things like what services to turn off when leaving for a trip and where/how to do it, departure checklist . . . you name it.
I'm skeptical. I wonder what the BTU output of a little trailer water heater actually is. Not that great, would be my guess, like 15 or 20 Amps at 120 volts. What is the breaker size for heating water with electricity I wonder?
I remember when one of my HVAC managers got the idea of heating a home with in-floor hot water using two full-size (40 gallon) electric water heaters. It couldn't do the job, because the BTU capability was only, if I remember right, 10,000 BTU's each, and 20,000 BTU's couldn't do the job when it got really cold.
If the water heater in a trailer is 15 amps, then it could produce about 5,000 BTU's, and if run on gas, it isn't likely to be much greater than the heat output from electricity.
So: if you can only get 5,000 or so BTU's out of a water heater, then you'll need further heat sources when it gets cold. My 30-ft 5th wheel needs TWO 5000 BTU space heaters when it gets down to about 30 degrees. (I can't stand my furnace, and haven't used it even once since verifying that it worked, 5 years ago.)
One final point: running the H out of your water heater may lead to scaling, carboning, oxidizing, etc and otherwise shortening the life of the heater. Trailer water heaters are quite expensive. For that reason alone, I'd opt for a couple electric space heaters.
i have a 2010 Mountaineer RK, officially a 29.5 ft. We've pulled it well over 30,000 miles and are on our third set of tires.
We've been quite happy with it. Only minor issues. The items you mentioned: no steps from bedroom to bathroom. Good storage, in fact, far more than we need or use. But then, we've never been on more than a 2-month trip, we don't 'live' in it.
If I were buying a new trailer, I'd probably get the same thing, only newer, of course.
BTW: the only complaints I've heard about a RK is dishes falling out of the cupboard. It happened to us. But you learn, and adapt. We put a stretchy strap over the handles on the cupboard over the sink, which prevents the problems we experienced with things falling on the floor on really rough roads. It only happened a couple of times, but who wants that? And we decided using glass was impractical, other than containers for storing/reheating food (which are practically indestructible).
As was said earler: dehumidification, and/or venting.
Keeping the air in the trailer moving (fans) will help because the moving air keeps the exterior surfaces warmer, so less reason to form condensation.
Get a humidity gage. Have some idea of just how big your problem really is. They are cheap and easily found at Target, Walmart, lumber yards, etc.
BTW, it comes up every year: some people try to heat with propane heaters inside a trailer. The result will be lots of moisture. It isn't a good idea, just like 'ventless' fireplaces aren't a very good idea for more than occasional use. Use the furnace (combustion fumes are vented outside with the created moisture) or electric heaters.
Reasons I decided on a 5th wheel:
You can take a truck anywhere to get it repaired, quickly and cheaply. Try that with a motor home.
New truck (nice one, Ford King Ranch, gas) and a 30 ft. 5th wheel is about $80-90K. That will maybe buy a moderately priced MH, but then you need a tow-behind to get around town. So the 5th/truck is likely to be cheaper to buy.
5th wheel slides extend much farther, as no one is going to be walking about while traveling. That, plus no engine/cab area, means more space. Either offers a traveling bathroom and refrigerator.
I get 8.5 to 9 mpg even with gas when towing. Ask the MH operators how that compares. Diesel would probably be around 10 to 11.
More storage with a 5th.
I'm no expert. I've always stored with slides in. I have slide covers, and I think extended effects of wind, rain and dirt on the covers would be a negative. I also think the sealing of the trailer is superior with the slides closed (keep out bugs, hornets, etc.)
But I DO open the vent in the bathroom (it has an after-market cover; can't think of the brand at the moment) because I think it is important to encourage the inside of the trailer temp to be as similar to the outside as feasible to minimize or eliminate condensation.
No, Allworth, no one put a gun to my head. But when you are stuck with no (second) spare, hundreds of miles from home, in an area with few alternatives and minimal phone service, with plans and schedules and people counting on you . . . sometimes you need to take the expedient route.
I have written a few times about the joys of towing with gas, but that isn't my intent this time. It's really to ask a question I haven't seen discussed here that has been on my mind . . .
Others have described the transmission temps they experience on this forum, and with my low-mileage F250 (2012) pulling a trailer about 11K pounds up the side of some mountains, I've seen much higher transmission temps. Even when the ambient temps have been quite pleasant. I've wondered why that might be. Frankly, I wondered if some people were BSing us. But now I have a theory:
So, going up the mountain, my engine is turning maybe 4500 to 5000 rpm's, sometimes a bit more, sometimes for fairly long periods. Everyone says that isn't a problem for a gas engine, and I believe that is so. BUT . . . a diesel will be running roughly half the rpms, which means that input shaft/gears are turning much closer to the speed of output shaft/gears with diesel. There is quite a mismatch in input/output speeds with a gas engine, which means, I should think, more gears and busier gears moving quite rapidly. It would seem to me that could result in significantly higher oil temps.
Does this make sense?
I've been reading these tire threads for years. Twice now, I've had to replace tires while on the road, far from home. Right now, my trailer is in the shop to repair $2,000 of damages from cheap Chinese tires. And what is on the trailer now? Another set of cheap Chinese tires. I lost two tires in the same day, and something had to be done to get back on the road. That's all I could find within 50 miles of where the second failure occurred.
I was planning to get a new set in the spring, and research better tires then. I thought sure those two-year-old tires were good for one more 500 mile trip . . .
Chlorine is a gas, unless pressurized, like propane. Unless your tank is hermetically sealed, chlorine will dissipate, and fairly rapidly at summer temperatures.
btw, Bromine is often used for hot tubs because it dissipates at a slower rate than chlorine at higher temperatures. Just fyi, not terribly relevant here.
I often leave water in my fresh water tank all summer. But I seldom if ever would drink it, and I run water for ice-making through a filter at the faucet. Actually, 9 times out of 10, I use full hookups, which is why water could be in the holding tank all summer.
I have a 3/4 ton, and I agree your rig needs more. A one ton should do very well. You need a diesel, sorry to say.
Short story, you coming from a MH: I traveled across the Dakotas with my 5th, and friends in a MH, with two days of 50 mph crosswinds all the way to Montana. The driver of the MH was constantly making large steering wheel corrections, while I in my F250 was driving with one hand leaning against my knee. With the pivot point right over the axle, the strongest wind creates little to no directional input.
I pulled a 10K lb dry, estimated 11K 5th wheel from Indiana to San Francisco a year ago, through Denver, New Mexico, Colorado again, Utah twice, etc. It pulled fine. Ever go up/down a 9-degree mountain? I did. I was more nervous coming down than going up, without question. You won't go up a hill like that and hold 65, but 50? Probably.
But you're significantly heavier. I'd say it depends upon where you plan to go. Most people don't go that far or that often with their trailers. Me, I've gone over 30K miles in 5 years. I'm on the 3rd set of tires. If you are just going into a neighboring state, or over the the lake, etc I'd say you'll be fine. If you're touring the country, I'm not so sure.
I got a 4X4 because it came with the model I wanted. Couldn't really see any practical benefit, and in the first year I never used it.
But on two occasions this year, once in Atlanta at Stone Mountain and once in Indiana at a state campground, I was given a spot that required me to back up, uphill, on gravel to hook up to my 5th wheel trailer. Both times, I started to dig holes in 2-wheel, but when put into 4-wheel, it backed up perfectly with no spinning. Those big truck tires can dig quite a hole in a single second!
Anyway, glad I have a 4X4, but if faced with the choice vs the expense, I'm not sure what I'd do.
I bought two nylon disks when I ordered my trailer five years ago. At least 30,000 miles since, on my third set of tires, and the disk looks like it'll last another dozen years or so. I don't remember where I put the 2nd disk; guess it doesn't really matter.