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soupwell

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/04/12 04:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have not yet purchased either my Tow Vehicle (TV), or Fifth Wheel (FW). I am looking to purchase this rig to house me (and sometimes my wife and two young daughters) while on the road for work. I (or we) would stay in the trailer 4-5 nights a week, then it would remain parked in a Camp Ground (CG) most weekends while we return home, unless we need to move it to a new work location. I intend to flat tow my 2009 Taurus (<4,000 lbs) behind the FW when moving to new work locations. I have already posted a thread (and received some wonderful help) in the tow vehicles forum trying to work out the rig design, capacities, and budget for all this. I'm looking to spend <$20,000 on a (used) FW travel trailer. Now I have some livability and logistics questions.

I have lived in a travel trailer before, for several months, but it was stationary on a construction site, and was summer only. That trailer had no generator, but we would sometimes connect the construction generator we had on site to run the AC. This was in the mountains of CA.

AC questions: Will a single 15k BTU AC keep a FW adequately cool (<80*) during the day in a West Texas summer (it's dry, but temps regularly top 100*, and sometimes top 110*)? If a single AC won't manage this load, will a double?

Power questions: The trailer I lived in previously didn't have batteries. Is a battery system common/expected on a relatively recent (2002+) FW? Is a generator common/expected (or even something I could add easily)? Is it common to find generators that run off of on-board propane? The TVs I'm looking at typically have 130+ Amp HD alternators. Can a FW typically pull operating power through the trailer wiring connector from its TV? If so, what can be run on that power (AC, microwave, refrigerator, lighting, water pumps, etc)? I expect to be in CGs most of the time, but would like to know what my options/capabilities would be if we need to boondock.

Winter questions: Is it foolish to even consider living in a FW year round? Winter temps in the areas I work (Texas, Oklahoma, occasionally Kansas) rarely dip below 0*. Average overnight lows are probably in the 20s or sometimes teens. Day time highs are usually above freezing, except for a few cold snaps each winter. There are occasional winter storms (usually 2-4 times a year). We know how to use blankets. I'll probably try to keep the trailer at ~60-65* while we're in it. What sort of propane costs should I expect? If I am away on weekends, what is the best way to prevent pipe freezes (should I just leave the heat on low, how much will that cost me)? If I have to move to a new site during the winter, will I have to do a full "winterization" to prevent pipe freezes in transit? Can heaters be run in transit? Is there a particular feature or set of features I should look for in order to live in a FW during the winter? Are these additional features "nice-to-have" or "must-have"?

Flat towing questions: I have had a very hard time finding info on which FWs can handle double towing, or even, when I have a particular model in mind, how big a tow weight one can handle. I'm looking to flat tow my <4,000 lb Ford Taurus. Does anyone have info on this (or a link to a site with such info)? Any advice on which FW manufacturers or models to look for or avoid? Does flat towing typically make use of any braking on the toad? Can it? How much should I expect to pay for adding a sufficient hitch to a FW? I am hoping to find a tow system that leaves the toad looking as "natural" as possible, hopefully with most of it remaining on the FW when not in use. I would like it to make use of vehicle lights (and brakes if possible). How much should I expect to pay to have this installed? What about if I install it myself- how much for just parts?

Security questions: Since I will be leaving the rig (both TV and FW) in CGs for most weekends, I am concerned about security. Is there anything I can do to make it harder to steal the equipment? Is there anything I can do to prevent breakins? Are there alarm systems that will record (and upload) video, transmit GPS coordinates, and alert me if the equipment is moved? If so, how much would such a thing cost? Are these concerns typically an issue at most CGs?

CG questions: I need internet access for work. I can tether through my phone when necessary, but do not have unlimited data. Do most CGs provide WIFI? If so, is it sometimes, usually, or always painfully slow? I should almost always be able to take advantage of weekly rates, and often will be in a single location for a month or more. What should I expect to pay for site fees? Will there be space to park my (unhitched) toad at most CGs?

TV question: I am primarily looking at 2008+ F-350 Crew Cab DRW 6.4L Turbodiesels. How important is it to have a 4x4? With RWD, will I run into a lot of trouble in muddy CGs? Is RWD actually preferable overall? What is the difference in fuel economy? If I buy a truck without a Fifth Wheel already installed, how much should I expect to pay, including wiring, for parts only (assuming I install myself)? I would like one with plenty of capacity and that allows relatively easy hookup, without a second person having to be involved, if possible. Is it possible (or desirable, or a "must-have") to have an in-bed truck tool box installed in the TV while hauling the FW? I'm looking to keep a basic set of tools and supplies for TV/FW operations and maintenance: wrenches, socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, mallet, multimeter, electrical wire, electrical tape, duct tape, MAPP torch, solder, tow strap(s)/chains, FW grease, oil, trans fluid, coolant, RV antifreeze. Should I include a battery charger/starter? Anything else that should go in the truck toolkit (or anything I have included that should be left home)?

After this huge wall of text, is there anything else that jumps out at you experienced folks that I am forgetting to take into consideration?

Thanks in advance!
Brent

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 10/04/12 04:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Your questions about winter camping may mostly be answered here:

Winter Camping

It is best to ask one question per thread.


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

Red,

Southwest

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Posted: 10/04/12 04:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:



Hi,

It is best to ask one question per thread.



You'll get a better answer with one question at a time . . .

That will let us focus on the main problem.

Don't really like multi-tasking.

Red, *<(:{)-

soupwell

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/04/12 05:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Red, wrote:

pianotuna wrote:



Hi,

It is best to ask one question per thread.



You'll get a better answer with one question at a time . . .

That will let us focus on the main problem.

Don't really like multi-tasking.

Red, *<(:{)-


Okay, fair enough.

In that case, I'll check the link you gave for the winter stuff. Here's my most pressing question of the moment: Will a single AC unit manage to cool an entire fifth wheel in Texas summer heat?

hallock5

Texas

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Posted: 10/04/12 05:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If working properly, AC can handle summer heat, but advisable you help out rig by having a shady site and using the like of Reflectix and placing them in the windows.


2008 Jayco Eagle Superlite 28.5RLS
2002 Ford 4x4 SuperCab 7.3 (Jr International) Diesel

Sad to say, time to sell to a good home.


Me Again

Shelter Bay, Wa

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Joined: 09/26/2012

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Posted: 10/05/12 02:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

4,000 lb Ford Taurus! If your wife needs that as a daily driver, it would be best for her to drive it between locations also. Modern diesel pickups get in the 20 mpg on the freeway empty, so do you really need a second vehicle. It complicates your towing quite a bit, and bumps into length and towing restrictions.

Only some of the higher end trailers are rated to tow loads like that. Hitch Hiker is one. You really need a four season rated trailer.

I single air conditioner will cool a 28-29 foot 5th wheel, a 37-38 is not going to cut it with a single air conditioner. Dual air conditioners require 50 shore power, which could be an issue in many parks. Your dry camping requirements to a generator to power air conditioning will be large and suck a lot of gas.

Here are a lot of ND oil patch people doing this, I wonder if they have a forum somewhere to help with your questions.

Here is a google search that might help. Chris


My Rig
2001.5 2500 STD CAB AUTO SLT 4x4, CTD 4:10's, Bomb'd to Tow
2005 Cardinal 29WBLX. Older posts can be seen by searching "Chris"

donn0128

Pronounced Ore-gun

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Joined: 04/21/2005

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Posted: 10/04/12 06:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

soupwell wrote:

I have not yet purchased either my Tow Vehicle (TV), or Fifth Wheel (FW). I am looking to purchase this rig to house me (and sometimes my wife and two young daughters) while on the road for work. I (or we) would stay in the trailer 4-5 nights a week, then it would remain parked in a Camp Ground (CG) most weekends while we return home, unless we need to move it to a new work location. I intend to flat tow my 2009 Taurus (<4,000 lbs) behind the FW when moving to new work locations. I have already posted a thread (and received some wonderful help) in the tow vehicles forum trying to work out the rig design, capacities, and budget for all this. I'm looking to spend <$20,000 on a (used) FW travel trailer. Now I have some livability and logistics questions.

I have lived in a travel trailer before, for several months, but it was stationary on a construction site, and was summer only. That trailer had no generator, but we would sometimes connect the construction generator we had on site to run the AC. This was in the mountains of CA.

AC questions: Will a single 15k BTU AC keep a FW adequately cool (<80*) during the day in a West Texas summer (it's dry, but temps regularly top 100*, and sometimes top 110*)? If a single AC won't manage this load, will a double?NO!

Power questions: The trailer I lived in previously didn't have batteries. Is a battery system common/expected on a relatively recent (2002+) FW? Is a generator common/expected (or even something I could add easily)? Is it common to find generators that run off of on-board propane? The TVs I'm looking at typically have 130+ Amp HD alternators. Can a FW typically pull operating power through the trailer wiring connector from its TV? If so, what can be run on that power (AC, microwave, refrigerator, lighting, water pumps, etc)? I expect to be in CGs most of the time, but would like to know what my options/capabilities would be if we need to boondock.Batteries are needed to properly balance the converter/load. Generators are pretty rare in fifth wheels, and if propane powered can drain a 7 gallon tank in short order. If it is a gasoline generator you will have to figure out how to get gas into the tank.

Winter questions: Is it foolish to even consider living in a FW year round? Winter temps in the areas I work (Texas, Oklahoma, occasionally Kansas) rarely dip below 0*. Average overnight lows are probably in the 20s or sometimes teens. Day time highs are usually above freezing, except for a few cold snaps each winter. There are occasional winter storms (usually 2-4 times a year). We know how to use blankets. I'll probably try to keep the trailer at ~60-65* while we're in it. What sort of propane costs should I expect? If I am away on weekends, what is the best way to prevent pipe freezes (should I just leave the heat on low, how much will that cost me)? If I have to move to a new site during the winter, will I have to do a full "winterization" to prevent pipe freezes in transit? Can heaters be run in transit? Is there a particular feature or set of features I should look for in order to live in a FW during the winter? Are these additional features "nice-to-have" or "must-have"?Winter in TX/OK should not be a problem. If you have hookups electric heaters will help a lot. If you expect to live in a dry area, batteries will be dead in one night running the furnace.

Flat towing questions: I have had a very hard time finding info on which FWs can handle double towing, or even, when I have a particular model in mind, how big a tow weight one can handle. I'm looking to flat tow my <4,000 lb Ford Taurus. Does anyone have info on this (or a link to a site with such info)? Any advice on which FW manufacturers or models to look for or avoid? Does flat towing typically make use of any braking on the toad? Can it? How much should I expect to pay for adding a sufficient hitch to a FW? I am hoping to find a tow system that leaves the toad looking as "natural" as possible, hopefully with most of it remaining on the FW when not in use. I would like it to make use of vehicle lights (and brakes if possible). How much should I expect to pay to have this installed? What about if I install it myself- how much for just parts?Towing doubles in Not legal in many states, and those that do allow it have length restrictions that might prevent you doing it. You would be better off the tow the trailer and have the wife or someone else drive the car.

Security questions: Since I will be leaving the rig (both TV and FW) in CGs for most weekends, I am concerned about security. Is there anything I can do to make it harder to steal the equipment? Is there anything I can do to prevent breakins? Are there alarm systems that will record (and upload) video, transmit GPS coordinates, and alert me if the equipment is moved? If so, how much would such a thing cost? Are these concerns typically an issue at most CGs? Private camp grounds away from large towns generally are pretty safe

CG questions: I need internet access for work. I can tether through my phone when necessary, but do not have unlimited data. Do most CGs provide WIFI? If so, is it sometimes, usually, or always painfully slow? I should almost always be able to take advantage of weekly rates, and often will be in a single location for a month or more. What should I expect to pay for site fees? Will there be space to park my (unhitched) toad at most CGs?Campground wifi is generally unsecured and can be iffy at best. Most full timers go with a mifi card for internet from Verizon.

TV question: I am primarily looking at 2008+ F-350 Crew Cab DRW 6.4L Turbodiesels. How important is it to have a 4x4? With RWD, will I run into a lot of trouble in muddy CGs? Is RWD actually preferable overall? What is the difference in fuel economy? If I buy a truck without a Fifth Wheel already installed, how much should I expect to pay, including wiring, for parts only (assuming I install myself)? I would like one with plenty of capacity and that allows relatively easy hookup, without a second person having to be involved, if possible. Is it possible (or desirable, or a "must-have") to have an in-bed truck tool box installed in the TV while hauling the FW? I'm looking to keep a basic set of tools and supplies for TV/FW operations and maintenance: wrenches, socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, mallet, multimeter, electrical wire, electrical tape, duct tape, MAPP torch, solder, tow strap(s)/chains, FW grease, oil, trans fluid, coolant, RV antifreeze. Should I include a battery charger/starter? Anything else that should go in the truck toolkit (or anything I have included that should be left home)? Fors before 2011 had a less than stellar record with their diesels. Personally I would not consider a Ford. If you intend to camp remote a 4X4 might have advantages. Expect to pay about 1MPG penalty for the 4X4 option

After this huge wall of text, is there anything else that jumps out at you experienced folks that I am forgetting to take into consideration?

Thanks in advance!
Brent



Don,Lorri,Max (The Rescue Flat Coat Retriever?)
The Other Dallas


soupwell

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/04/12 06:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the replies!

Dustytuu

Somewhere in the USA

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Posted: 10/04/12 09:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Campground wifi is generally unsecured and can be iffy at best. Most full timers go with a mifi card for internet from Verizon.


Or Sprint is another option. We get excellent with Sprint MiFi.
Have been customers of Sprint for about 8 years.

soupwell

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/05/12 01:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dustytuu wrote:

Quote:

Campground wifi is generally unsecured and can be iffy at best. Most full timers go with a mifi card for internet from Verizon.


Or Sprint is another option. We get excellent with Sprint MiFi.
Have been customers of Sprint for about 8 years.


I've heard good things about Sprint lately. I can say from personal experience travelling all over rural Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas: If you travel outside major cities, you want no part of T-Mobile. I finally had to pay over $400 to get free of them, because it just wouldn't work for my job. Verizon has been much better.

If I have to use wireless data, I think I'm set up pretty well. I was hoping to hear that CG wifi was so excellent I wouldn't need it... but I honestly expected the response I got. Hotel wifi (even at the "business friendly" chains) is very hit and miss, especially in the evenings (high traffic time).

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