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Open Roads Forum  >  Full-time RVing

 > Moving on from toy hauler to a full timer

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Posted: 02/01/12 09:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our toy hauler will serve my family well until we retire it. Unfortunatly, as many fellow T/H owners know, it's rather small in there, even though the trailer might be just shy of aircraft carrier size and weight on the outside. This will be a major factor for our future plans.

At some point my wife and I are going to retire, sell the toy hauler and hit the road. We will be looking for a fiver and want to know, from experiences out there, what should we look for? Full timers are a different breed, and what may be a non-issue to me might be a huge deal to you. Little things mean a lot, and which brands/models have unexpected or really useful features? Which floorplan/layout is best for full timing?

Is a W/D one of those catch 22 type of options: good to have when it works but super expensive and a real PITA when it breaks or floods the coach? Is it needed or just nice to have?

There are some super nice coaches out there that always seem to have a lot of bling and are, usually, loaded to the gills. What features can you leave off the options block?

We would like a rear bedroom, if that helps any, and I know there is a Mountaineer floorplan that we really like. However, having come out of a Starcraft 27FB bunkhouse, that was our only exposure to a regular floorplan trailer, and it wasn't to great. We are not closed-minded to anything, but a dedicated living/family area would be great.

Not looking for much overall, just some good info to start with. Thanks.

2008 Ram 3500 SRW
2006 Salem 32SRV

***looking for a better truck this fall***


Fulltiming and sitting.

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Posted: 02/01/12 09:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's pretty much what your floorplan preference dictates. Then you have comfort level, storage, how you cook and eat and shop. If you want something 4-season or 3-season, open bath or closed. A few things can be tweeked with changes, but not the major footprint.

We ordered ours and made some custom changes during the build (and a few after). Simple things like eliminated window behind TV, drawers instead of LP oven. I only use a MW/convection. We need the W/D, since DH is still working and I wash 1-2 loads daily. We also switched out the furniture with residential grade. Chose a Qn bed since it was easier to switch out to new mattress. Residential is Lasting longer and more comfortable.

Analyze how you live and what you can't live without! Because switching RV's gets expensive. We're on our 3rd one (and hopefully our last) in 7 yrs.

2014 DRV Mobile Suite Estates 38RSB3....our custom home
2014 Ford F450 KR CC 4x4......his office
2015 Lance 1172 TC.....mobile Motel FOR SALE
Working Fulltimers since 3/2005

"Shoot for the Moon! Even if you miss it, you will land among the Stars."


Council Grove, KS

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Posted: 02/01/12 11:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The hard part is figuring out what you are going to do full timing. Do you need room for arts and crafts are you going to have animals with you, will you need a home office, etc. Once you figure out what your needs will be, then start looking for a floor plan. Once you have some floor plan ideas in mind then start looking at the actual rigs. RV manufactures know it's looks that sell RV's and so that's where the money goes. Full timers know that the infrastructure is where the continual problems come from. So don't just look for the one that attracts your eye, look at the plumbing and wiring, suspension and tires and don't be afraid to ask the sales person to open some access hatches. Also don't be afraid to tell them you won't take delivery of the rig with substandard tires on it.

Dick and Joyce
2010 Montana 3665RE
Dodge 2500HD Maxi Cab Laramie Edition
Diego, Norm, & Bitsy

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Torrance CA.

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Posted: 02/01/12 11:05am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hitchup has some great points. We also ordered ours and went to the factory while it was being built and to have service done after picking it up. We were able to add several custom features.

Here's some suggestions based on our experience:
Number one...get the biggest 5th wheel you can afford. Don't worry about towing it, you'll get used to it. Originally I wanted no more than a 30 ft and my DW fell in love with the longest model, the extra 7 feet has made a difference over the years. Our next will be 40 to 42 footer.

Get all of the automatic stuff....sat dish, levelers, awnings, genset...etc. I spend twice as long setting up camp as our friends who have all of the auto gadgets.

We love our W/D stack set. It is so convenient to do the laundry in the RV. It also means we can do with less clothes. I ususlly have 3 outfits. So they get washed every couple of days.

Make sure you get an inverter that is big enough to handle whatever electronics you may want to use while boondocked. And have lots of batteries- we have six.

If you buy new expect several little things that will need to be fixed. Quality control is sometimes lacking especially if you choose a model & manufacturer that is popular and suffering from high demand. Our brand got real busy and they were having trouble keeping up with demand so the RVs were being pushed out of the factory as quickly as possible.

Try to get a 5th wheel that is well under the carrying capacity of your truck. You want your truck to be able to pull and stop the 5th wheel with little effort. This will increase the longevity of your truck and reduce the stress for you and improve your towing safety.


Las Vegas, Nevada

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Posted: 02/01/12 12:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from 5th wheels to Full-time RVing.

2011 Palomino Maverick 1000SLLB on a 2004 Dodge Quadcab CTD Ram3500 SRW long bed equipped with Timbren springs, Stable Load bump stops, Rickson 19.5" wheels/"G" range tires and a Helwig "Big Wig" rear anti sway bar.


Donnelly, ID


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Posted: 02/01/12 12:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We fulltimed for 9 years and had three fivers. We got it right with the third one, a Teton, which is not made anymore. It was a heavy beast and we hauled with a Freightliner. We had the winter package, W/D, Motosat, Bigfoot leveling system...everything we thought we would need or want.

We loved the rig and the lifestyle. We would still be out there, but life interfered.

Dianne (and Terry) (Fulltimed for 9 years)
Donnelly, ID
HAM WB6N (Terry)
2012 Ford F350, diesel, 4x4 SRW, crew cab, longbed
2009 Lance 971 Truck Camper, loaded

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Scott and Brenda Retired and Wingn the USA

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Posted: 02/01/12 08:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I guess we're a little different because we're in a 5'er and looking at moving to a TH'er if we can find one we can live with. There are a couple that with some modifications we could fulltime in.

We've been fulltiming for about 6 years(holy moly, that long already?) and still would not have a w/d. We still wouldn't have an automatic sat, especially mounted on the roof. We could go larger on the 5er but unless we get a THer that won't happen because the size we have fits in most places we go. I would get a large truck again...you won't regret getting the largest truck you can afford. Don't just get enough to "get by". Your heart will thank you.

My best advice overall is to go to the RV shows. And not just in your area. You can see all of them side by side. After a couple of shows you'll be able to narrow your search tremendously. We looked for our fulltiming rig for 2 years before we bought. There was a lot of trips to shows and dealerships to take second looks. And remember that what will work for one person may not work for you. Since it sounds like you're a little ways from being ready, this would work for you.

Good luck and stay patient. The ride is worth it!!

Scott and Brenda Schnelle
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South Texas

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Posted: 02/02/12 05:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been FT in our toy hauler since last summer. It's a 40 footer and when the bike is unloaded we roll out a carpet and it's no longer a garage, it's a 2nd room. It's got a pair of benches on the side walls that are lowered from the ceiling, followed by a queen bed. Last summer it was a bunkhouse for 4 grandkids, as well as a video game den at times. We bolted in a couple of dressers and added a portable fireplace and it's become quite the versatile room. It came with a table that sits between the benches and then it's our card/game room. It's likely not for everyone but I'd suggest giving it some thought and getting a look at the TH's as well as the others. A couple of other points:
-we have no washer/dryer and don't miss it. Our perspective is to do one large load every 8-10 days in more than one machine and it's done. OTOH, we've never had a washer/dryer on board so maybe it's better.
-we have a generator and hardly ever use it. It's fantastic every once in a while, but it adds a lot of weight up at the front and takes a lot of space too.
-we have an expensive automatic satellite dish on the roof. We love it when there are no trees in the way which is unfortunately only half the time. We got a tripod and it will get the job done, although very irritating when you're moving every few days....

No matter what you end up getting, you're always going to see something else that would suit you better in some ways. There are no end of trade-offs. However, we are thrilled with the lifestyle and I'm sure you will be too.


Wilmington, OH, USA

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Posted: 02/03/12 07:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Carpet. I'd get smooth floors with a rug. And if I were ordering one I delete the crummy camper grade appliances and have 'em just leave a hole.

Washer/dryer is a must have or your wardrobe will crowd you out of your home. Not to mention the pile of dirty clothes. Yeah mine flooded a couble of times when I neglected to open the tank drain valve, which refers back to the smooth floor option.

All the "bling" will raise your quality of life to just about minimum residential standards. Look at the best insulated camper out there. Mobile suites with a whole 3 1/2" of fiberglass insulation. That's minimum construction standards!

When you get a big camper, you get a big truck. A 5er only loads the rear axel of the truck. Then you can hang your motorcycle on the front of the truck. A cabover roof rack for other toys and when you pull in it looks like the circus is coming to town. That's what I do.
If my camper had a better frame I'd tow my DW's Honda. As it is, she has to tag along.

I ain't rich, but if I were I'd have 17.5" wheels, straight roofline, fiberglass roof, thermopane windows, hydraulic stabilizers...In short a Doubletree Elite Suites. (with no carpet and my own appliances)

'03 GMC 4500 Topkick with Duramax/Allison
'04 36' McKenzie Medallion triple slide
Cabover kayak racks w/18' touring kayaks.
Bicycle carrier on the front with a street bike & a mountain bike
Snowbird W/Ohio camper dock


Morpeth Ontario,St. Cloud Florida

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Posted: 02/06/12 09:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1-Get as big a trailer as you can afford,we have a fiver' which i think is best suited for full-timing.

2-Get a BIG diesel dually truck,don't try to half-@@@ it and get a jake brake,there worth every penny.

3-I try to keep the "Gadgets" to a minimum,power this and that will fail when you need it the most.

4-Get a full-size household refrigerator(we have an Amana,exellent unit)you will need the space!!also get one with a icemaker,it'll pay for itself the first year,ours makes more than enough ice for our coolers and cocktails.

5-Get a good generator(we have a Honda 3000 that works great for boon-docking)that way you don't have to pay for overnight camping sites in transit,we stop at pilot oil/flying j or loves.

6-A washer/dryer combo,Frau Blücher does a load every other day and she loves not having to haul the clothes to the laundry.

7-And finally,do everything your wife wants! when it comes to full-timing if she aint happy,you won't be,not a lot of places to hide in a fiver' lol.

Good Luck!!

07' Dodge 3500 6 speed Cummins Diesel Dually/6.7L Bully-Chipped /
Exhst Brake/07' Cedar Creek 37CDTSD Daydreamer fiver
Mallard @ Frau Blücher

Red Green:
Now lets Bow your heads for the men's prayer.
I am a man, but I can change.
If I have to, I guess...

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