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New To Whole RV Life, Looking For Info & Recommendations

SymphonyOfDream
Explorer
Explorer
I need to buy "all the things!" I have little 4 cylinder minivan and CRV, so will be selling my minivan to purchase some type of truck.

I have dreams of taking mountain bikes, kayaks, and ATVs, and just living a nomad life for several months a year. Job is 100% remote, but requires a large-ish desk (2 large monitors), and will need to get a good internet provider (likely satellite).

But for a 5th wheel/toy hauler, I have NO concept of the type of truck I will need. When I look at new Ford Superduties, the price has me gnashing my teeth.

1) What are your recommendations for a reliable used truck for hauling a 5th wheel/toy hauler over mountain passes, through death valley, etc. Last thing I want is to over heat/break down/lose breaks, etc. I am not very mechanically inclined, but willing to learn.

2) Are there any brands of 5th wheels/toy haulers I should avoid due to quality issues, or finding mechanics and/or parts issues?
12 REPLIES 12

Ginafloyd
Explorer II
Explorer II

I got 2 Forrest Rivers. My big one is 39 foot Cherokee and I had a big diesal GMC that I loved. But the front something broke and went tru oil filter and leaked all my oil out. I was supposedly getting a new motor put in but somehow its ended in Crusher. But Ford had some bad years and when I was delivering RVS a lot of the guys had Dodge trucks for the big campers. But mine was GMC and I did ok out west 6percent up and down. Out in Calif I hit some really steep mountains and messed the brakes and on my truck and camper. But I got a 1500 Chevy truck gas. But i got them fixed but abou $750 each. If u could survive in smaller camper and smaller truck thats how I would go. That big camper is so stressful on these mountain roads. Now I live in Tenn and just started camping again last year when I sold my house. But Goodsam used to have a article about what to take on your trips which helped me a lot. Cause you need those things u put in road so people wont run over you if u have breakdown. But campingworld . They used to have campouts with sponsers giving classes on different topics. Solar Panels Tires cleaning I learned a lot in the classes but experience does it all  

Jbinramona
Explorer II
Explorer II

If you decide on a trailer, you cannot go wrong with a 3500 dually with the biggest diesel offered. In other words, you can tow a small trailer with a big truck, but a 1972 Chevy Luv is worthless for towing anything lol. 
Look, look, look, then look some more at every RV dealer you can find. Search the internet at every opportunity, there are more varieties of RV than breeds of dogs!!! Enjoy the search experience and don’t be in a hurry. If you hurry you will regret it. 
My wife and I have been RV ing for over 30 years. Everything from tents to our current full time toy hauler. 45’ Jayco Seismic Ram 3500 dually…33,000lbs rolling down the road. 
Good luck in your search, embrace the lifestye and enjoy the life!

Drug one up out of the archives eh?

Considering this topic and the forum in general are basically dead, it doesn’t matter, but you CAN absolutely “go wrong” with getting a dually.  
There are multitudes of 5vers and every other type of towable that are med/large sized and perfectly suitable or ideal for a srw truck. 
And just like a 1972 Chevy Luv is worthless for towing, a dually is worthless and a hinderance for virtually anything less than a load that requires the training wheels. 
Not to mention the daily driving challenges of a truck that’s 2’ wider than all other passenger vehicles. 
Right tool, right job. You can dig a 2’ deep hole with a Cat 345 but a 305 is far more appropriate….same applies here. 

2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Yes my 2500HD carried about as big a load as the dually could carry . They said 1600 back in 2015 but now they say 13000 pounds. But the 2500HD is a lot smaller than dually and makes turns a lot easier only 4 tires to buy versus 6 for a dually but I loved the comfort ride of my dually. But I am glad I traded but I got 4X4 4 wheeel drive and it was nice getting me unstuck. I used it a few times getting campers out of mud and snow. Then when I got my farm it was great 2 wheel drive wouldnt do crap in the mud. 

My small camper is 19 foot toy hauler, but my 1500 Chevrolet truck pulls ok. I am sure a diesal would be better but my camper only 5000 lbs and my truck can pull 7000 lbs. Thats the deal make sure ur truck is rated to pull your camper

ferndaleflyer
Explorer III
Explorer III
Thats what I would do. I have a 36 ft Monaco DP and tow a 32 ft enclosed trailer behind it. You don't really need either to be that big. But I haul my Smart car and my race car in there without a problem. You can drive the Smart everywhere and leave the rest hooked up. You can't drive a golf cart or ATV to town in most places. And buy EVERYTHING used from down below the rust belt.

pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
New? Out of reach unless you have mega bucks. Almost all RV's have problems that come from the factory.

Used? Saves mega bucks and the "start up" issues have all been dealt with.

Don't buy anything that has water damage.

Consider a small class A or a Class C and tow your toys.
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
And the assumption that you need a “new” truck, or “new” camper is really quite flawed.
Although hard for me to not recommend going new to someone I’m not friends with, because someone needs to pay them high prices and sell em a couple years later in order for us saps who don’t like spending that much, to have good used stuff to choose from.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Tyler0215 wrote:
All toy haulers will require a 3/4 Ton pickup.
Don't let an RV salesman tell you differently.
Why new? Good used RV's are available. Used pickups: not so much.
If you want to live the life, you have to spend the money.


Most….not all. However the OP does appear to want a BIG TH since he mentions 5vers more than once.

OP, figure out what size of trailer you want first.
And whether you want a 5ver or bumper pull.
Only then can you decide what chassis is suitable. Or just get a dually and it’ll handle 99.9% of the toyhaulers out there, bp or 5ver.

As far as trucks go, can’t even start to make a recommendation without a budget.
But for your presumed use and presumed intended size of trailer, you want a diesel. A gasser, even the best ones will be suckin wind pretty hard with a trailer the size you appear to be contemplating.
The bigger consideration is how much room you want or need for toys vs how much office space you need. THs are great because they have that “space” that conventional TTs and 5ver campers don’t. BUT, if it’s filled with toys, you don’t have office space and if it’s filled with office space you don’t have room for toys. (You did say the plural of bikes, atvs and kayaks). So think about, do you unload half that stuff to set up the office or how you handle that. Seems easy until you’re loading and unloading chit 3x a week to make it work for you.

This is where a bumper pull will offer more flexibility because that leaves the truck bed open to haul toys, either in the bed or on a rack. Opening up space in the garage for your office.

Again, in this order, decide what size and configuration trailer you’re getting (approximately), then decide your truck budget and only then can anyone really help you with the specifics.

I’ll also add, you sound like a person who has no experience with big trailers. Make sure that’s in your wheelhouse so you’re not “that guy.”
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Tyler0215
Explorer
Explorer
All toy haulers will require a 3/4 Ton pickup.
Don't let an RV salesman tell you differently.
Why new? Good used RV's are available. Used pickups: not so much.
If you want to live the life, you have to spend the money.

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
The driving factor behind trucks for 5th wheels, is pin weight and payload.

Typically, the pin weight is 20-25% of the trailer weight (vs 12-15% for bumper pull). Ignore the empty weight and use the GVWR of the trailer as no one tows empty and full timing, you are more likely to be taking a lot of stuff.

Payload vs Pin Weight: Just because you have a truck with a 2500lb payload, doesn't mean you have sufficient capacity to a 2500lb pin weight. Payload includes, people, gear and any bolt on accessories. So if you have a 1000lb of people and gear in a truck with a 2000lb payload, you can only handle a 1000lb pin weight (around 4-5k lb trailer)
- 1/2 Ton Trucks: The payload can vary wildly. It's not uncommon to have payloads below 1000lbs (totally useless for even a tiny 5er). There are rare models with up o 2500lb of payload. At the higher end, these can handle a small 5er...say 6-7k lbs GVWR. As the cost to move up to a 3/4 or 1 ton is negligible, usually better to skip the 1/2 ton trucks.
- 3/4 Ton Trucks: These start at around 2500lb of payload and can get up around 3500lb. For small to medium size 5ers, they can be quite suitable but once over around 10-12k lbs, you will be pushing the payload. They typically have the same engines and brakes as a 1 ton just weaker suspensions.
- 1 Ton SRW (Single Rear Wheel): These will give you a bump up in payload but it depends on the model year. A minor upgrade over a 3/4 ton.
- 1 Ton Dually: Above around 14k lb, this is really what you want. But even here big 5ers can exceed the payload limits (particularly with older trucks where the payload is lower).

You can get away with a lesser truck but it will be less comfortable to drive and you will be prone to more maintenance as you stress the parts. If buying, it's silly to buy a marginal truck.

When you get above 12-14k lb, upgrading to a diesel starts making sense.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

QCMan
Nomad II
Nomad II
Welcome to the forum! Before you decide on a truck, you need to decide on a fifth wheel. Their weights are all over the place so you need to figure out your needs and shop for a unit that has what you need. Then you can shop for a truck to pull it.
A guess on cost would be something approaching 200k if you buy new. That will not include toys, just trailer and truck. No good hobby has a low entry cost.

2020 Keystone Cougar 22RBS, Ram 1500, two Jacks and plenty of time to roam!
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. A.E.
Good Sam Life Member