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Open Roads Forum  >  Full-time RVing

 > The state of full time RVing in 2020 - RVs and TVs.

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me2

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Posted: 08/30/20 05:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been RVing since the early 90s. I've owned large 5th wheels for the past 22 years.

With COVID there has been an explosion of people going "full time". Many of which have never really been RVers before. Unfortunately there is a common theme to these stories that involves disappointment with the RV and the TV that pulls it. What is supposed to be a journey of fun and exploration turns into a trial by fire of trying to fix what breaks and keeping everything running.

People need to realize something - RVs are not built for full time living. They are built for weekend use. Most everything used in an RV is light duty - taps, sinks, fridges, water heaters, tires, wheels, springs, brakes - the list goes on and on. Would you put any of these components in your house ? Nope. They why would you expect them to last when used full timing ?


Tow vehicles have gotten much better over the years. You can now get diesel pickup trucks with 450HP and over 1000 ftlbs of torque. But as great as they are, they are very expensive, they wear out extremely fast and they cost a fortune to fix. They are also riddled with issues, even when new. Case in point, the CP4 issue on the latest RAM HD trucks.

Unfortunately, many of the gas motorhome chassis have not gotten a lot better. The engines are still gas, the track on the front axle is still too narrow, the gas tanks are too small, the transmissions are over loaded. This list goes on.

Likewise the suspension and undercarriage on most trailers is pure junk. The springs and axles are too small, the brakes are terrible, the tires are too small and blow out. These components were designed for 500 miles a year, not 10,000 miles for 5 years straight.

So what do you do ?

As far as the interior part of the RV, plan to replace every component with a residential equivalent. Chairs, couch, mattresses, taps, shower head, water heater, fridge, cook top, etc. Isn't that like rebuilding the RV ? Why yes it is. In fact, you might want to consider buying a used RV and doing a reno on it.

Another issue with common RVs is the exterior fading. The decals put on RVs stay nice for a maximum of 5 years in the sun. And the fiberglass exterior fades quickly too. The solution to this is to paint the exterior of the RV.

As far as the trailer suspension goes, go look at the brakes and suspension that are under a high end horse or cattle trailer. It will probably be a heavy duty torsion axle with disk brakes. With heavy duty hubs. Made to be pulled across the country and back while hauling heavy loads. If you want piece of mind, replace your trailer suspension with similar equipment.

Tow vehicles are another conundrum. If you are pulling a smaller trailer, like 10K or less, a diesel truck still works. Just be prepared that nobody wants to buy it once it is out of warranty. And they depreciate very quickly.

Once you get above 15K you really need to consider using an HDT. A good used HDT will set you back $40K, which is half of the price of a new pickup. You'll probably need to do some work on it and it won't be trouble free going forward. But the issues will be small and affordable and you won't be looking to trade it off in 5 years. Or 10. In fact, it is highly unlikely you'll ever wear it out.

As far as motorhomes go, Sprinters are terrible for rust and engine issues. Most Class C chassis will be wore out at 100K miles and the resale value will reflect that. You'll also have engine and transmission problems and maybe brake problems.

The small Class A diesel pushers (Cummins 5.9/6/7, Cat 3126) are OK. They'll give decent service but they are under powered.

The larger diesel pushers with the Spartan chassis will stand up. There is almost a heavy duty truck built into them. They are engineered with the right suspension, brakes, engine and transmission for the job. They will give great service and last.

The other solution is a Super C based on a HD truck chassis. That too is the right combination, although rigs with the Cummins 6.7 are still under powered and there have been some Super Cs with soft rear suspension. But the beauty of a Super Class C is that you can take it to the nearest HD truck shop and they are comfortable working on it. Can't say that for a regular Class C, which it seems nobody wants to work on.

The other issue is that some people have never had to work on vehicles or residential stuff and hope to rely on dealers and repair shops while they are on the road. That almost never turns out well, for a variety of reasons. The solution here is to tackle jobs yourself and become self reliant.

I hope this helps people.

HappyKayakers

Somewhere in the USA

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Posted: 08/30/20 05:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wasn't there an 'explosion' of people going fulltime when the economy tanked in 08-09? Haven't heard about that with the pandemic although I have heard of more people camping as a way of social distancing. FWIW, I've been fulltiming since 2006 and guess I've had exceptional luck with my 5ers. I learned a LOT with my first one and hope to make this one last much longer. My TV is still the original 2006 Dodge Ram.


Joe and Dakota, the wacko cat
Fulltiming since 2006
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me2

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Posted: 08/30/20 05:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A 2006 Dodge RAM is a good dependable tow vehicle for a medium sized 5er compared to the newer trucks. The newer trucks (2007 and newer with DPFs) have terrible track records.

BTW, the EPA is severely cracking down on deleted emissions. Whereas in the past people deleted emissions equipment on vehicles to make them more reliable, that might not be possible in the near future. In fact, some people with deleted trucks may be forced to return them to stock.

Lwiddis

near Jawbone Canyon, CA

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Posted: 08/30/20 06:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Old timer lamenting about newbies? Help when asked. Ignore when no one is harmed or damage to land or others is possible. Enjoy your experience.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


me2

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Posted: 08/30/20 06:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I was going full timing today, I'd buy an older (2007) large diesel pusher motorhome and renovate it.

Or buy a good 5er, update in the interior and pull it with an HDT.

Or do a bus conversion.

I would not full time with a Class C or a gas powered Class A. Nor use a new diesel pickup to pull a large 5er.

If you doubt me about using a diesel pickup, ask the people who own one how long they kept their last one. Very few will say beyond 150K miles. When you are full timing, those miles add up quickly. At 150K, most pickup trucks are worth 1/2 of what they were purchased for. You can buy a good used HDT for what a diesel pickup truck will depreciate in 100-150K. And at that point the HDT will still be a good truck.

Just my $0.02 from watching things from afar.

2oldman

New Mexico

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Posted: 08/31/20 10:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Peace of mind is often acquired by doing your homework and not buying cheap.

bobsallyh

Livingston, TX.

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Posted: 08/31/20 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been RVing since 1974, full timing for the last 17. For the last several years and watching what is going on there are far too many people "trying" to RV that should be staying the Hilton Garden Inns or Embassy Suites. And this recent sales "explosion" just wait 12-18 months on down the road, no pun intended, when the payments start to really hit home, storage bills and all that goes with storage PITA etc. and how many times the RV was actually used there will be a fire sale.
What it reminds me of would be this situation. We have never owned a boat but all of a sudden we have a brain fart. Gee, let's go buy a boat and sail the Intercoastal Coastal Waterway. What a catastrophic cluster that would be!
me2's post at the end: The other issue is that some people have never had to work on vehicles or residential stuff and hope to rely on dealers and repair shops while they are on the road. That almost never turns out well, for a variety of reasons. The solution here is to tackle jobs yourself and become self reliant. So true. JMHO

way2roll

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Posted: 08/31/20 03:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A good portion of what you said is not really true at all. Opinion maybe but most of it hardly factual.


2020 F350 STX 6.7L Turbo Diesel
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TechWriter

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Posted: 08/31/20 07:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

me2 wrote:

I've been RVing since the early 90s. I've owned large 5th wheels for the past 22 years.


How long have you been full timing?


2001 Newmar Mountain Aire 4095 DP
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me2

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Posted: 09/01/20 01:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZL-rnPo7s8

a) This guy knows nothing about diesel trucks and relies on the dealer. Recipe for disaster.

b) He purchases warranty because he thinks someone will take care of his truck. When something breaks warranty is denied. How predictable.

c) Dealer blames the issue on "a tune". They also blame lack of oil changes, wrong oil, water in the fuel, bad fuel. Customer has no power to argue.

c) When the 6.4L was released (after the 6.0L lemon) everyone said it was "bulletproof". 10 years later they are complete lemons. You can't even get 6.4L engines anymore.

The 2008-2010 Superduties with the 6.4L were throw away trucks. At 10 years they are worthless unless you are going to swap a Cummins in them. Resale value is zero because everyone knows the 6.4L is terrible.

The 6.0L trucks before the 6.4L trucks were throw aways. Unless you bulletproofed the engine yourself and even then they are questionable.

The early 6.7s (2011) dropped valves. They also blew turbos. There have been issues with the high pressure fuel pumps on them.

https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/consumer-products/auto-news/864367-ford-class-action-says-trucks-prone-catastrophic-engine-failure/

FYI, Cummins started using the CP4 on their 6.7L. There are threads in the TV forum about problems with it on Cummins engines.

If you think the 6.7L is a great engine, read these threads: https://www.google.com/search?q=Ford+blown+6.7+engine

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=6.7+failure
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN8L4ZTGtOs


Before you buy a 2020 diesel truck, listen to this podcast at the 26 minute mark. An engine rebuilder that works with cores from blown engines makes a comment about modern diesel engines versus 7.3, 5.9, etc.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNlNKTOXU4Q

Everyone thought the 6.4L was a great engine when it was 5 years old too. Now the the issues with the 6.7L are starting to surface. Ford has had made numerous changes to the 6.7L.


Notice the door fell off the bathroom in the trailer.

* This post was last edited 09/01/20 02:11am by me2 *   View edit history

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