Many of the new fifth wheel RV's have amazing
interior spaces and it can be quite a challenge
to choose a fifth wheel for the family. The
best way to go about choosing a new fifth wheel
is to imagine yourself using it. Go into the
kitchen and imagine cooking. Is there enough
storage space? Is there enough space to move
around? Go into the shower and imagine taking
a shower, using the bathroom. Is there enough
space? What might look like adequate space now
can soon become cramped with the whole family
in the fifth wheel.
is Not Always Better
It is important to know what you will be using
the Fifth Wheel RV for. If you are going to
spend a lot of time traveling with the rig,
then try and find a rig that will work for you
without it being to large. There are many campgrounds
that cannot accomodate a rig over a certain
size. A 40 foot Fifth Wheel RV will be problematic
when finding sites to accomodate it. The sites
you do find will be tight and that requires
extra backing skills to get into them.
As you will soon find out, going on a trip with
a Fifth Wheel is not just get in and go. There
is some planning to every trip. Where are the
gas stations? The truck pulling a Fifth Wheel
normally averages around 10 mpg. One has to
know where the next gas station is and does
it have diesel. Getting into a gas station presents
its own set of problems. With a 13-14 foot high
rig and a truck it is not simply a case of pulling
in at any gas station. One has to know if the
rig will fit and maneuvering around gas pumps
is often not an option. Many gas stations have
seperate diesel areas for 18-wheelers and that
is where a Fifth Wheel would have to re-fuel.
Bridge heights are also a consideration and
one should know which routes to avoid that have
low bridges. It is really easy to head down
a road following a GPS,and then suddenly find
a low level bridge in front of you. Especially
when heading out to State Parks. Make sure you
know the exact height of your RV, including
the airconditioner unit on the roof.
Invest in a Motor Carriers Atlas and keep
it on hand at all times when travelling.
a New Fifth Wheel RV
If you are going to buy
a new Fifth Wheel research is key. Do a search
on the internet for the make and model you
are looking to buy. Check the manufacturer.
Are there a lot of complaints about the manufacturer,
does the manufacturer stick to their warranty?
Check how that particular Fifth Wheel RV is
manufactured. The manufacturer will normally
have information on their website about the
design and manufacture of their Fifth Wheels.
Most of the time you will be buying from a
dealer and you need to do some research on
the dealer as well. Once you take possession
of the Fifth Wheel it is then your problem
if any problems arise. It is not a simple
process to tow the Fifth Wheel back and forth
while it has any problems fixed. You can end
up between the dealer and the manufacturer
with each blaming the other as to who should
is a link to our Fifth Wheel owners data showing
common trucks being used to tow / MPG and
weight of rigs being towed
Fifth Wheel Owner Towing Data
/ MPG / Truck Type
RV forums and ask questions about
the unit you want to buy. There is a wealth
of information in the forums.
Especially check the tires on the Fifth Wheel
RV you are thinking of buying. Then do a search
on the internet for that make of tire reviews.
For some reason manufacturers tend to put
tires on Fifth Wheels that are just within
the load ranges. There are many stories of
tire blowouts on new Fifth Wheels and a tire
blow-out does extensive damage to the underside
of the RV. Then it comes down to who is going
to pay for that?
Keep in mind when you buy a new Fifth Wheel,
no one has lived in the unit and tested everything
out on an ongoing basis. Everything may look
good but after a few retractions of the slides,
do they still function correctly? After a
rain storm with the slides out, did water
get into the unit?
Heating & Cooling
Make sure that the fifth wheel has adequate
heating and cooling. One roof-top A/C might
not be adequate for 90 degree days. Look in
the fifth wheel camper for air vents. Some
fifth wheels have central heat & air,
if you see air vents around the ceiling area
and vents on the floor of the unit, then there
is a good chance that is has central heat
and air. The central air unit is normally
situated on the outside of the unit behind
a metal vented door.
& Grey Water Tanks Capacity
Check the capacity of the grey water (all
waste water other than the toilet) and the
black water tanks (toilet waste water). These
two tanks are important if you intend to stay
at camp grounds that do not have a sewer hook-up.
Ask the dealer if there is grey water tank
for the kitchen. Many new owners do not know
that the kitchen can have its own grey water
tank. They empty the rear grey water tank
only to have the kitchen sink start backing
up. There have been numerous calls to RV service
centers asking how to unblock the kitchen
sink, when in fact the kitchen grey water
tank is full. That tanks release handle can
often be hidden away where one would never
think to look.
the Tires on the Unit
If your are purchasing a used fifth wheel or
toy hauler make sure you check the tires on
the unit. A good looking tread on the tires
does not mean the tires are good. Old tires
deteriorate on the inside and are prone to blowouts.
You need to check the age of the tires. It is
standard practice to replace any tires over
5 years old. Here is how to check the tires
to tell the age of a tire.
a Quick Extended Warranty Quote if buying a
This can be very useful to
see how much a warranty would be for the year
and model of unit you are about to buy. The
older the unit the more the warranty will cost.
You just enter minimal information and immediately
get the quote. The quote is from Good Sam, one
of the largest providers in the US, so pricing
gives a very good idea of what a warranty would
cost. You will also receive a blank copy of
the contract which is very useful in seeing
what is included and what is not in the warranty.
Normally the contract is the last thing you
see, when in it should be the first document
Use the quote as one of your research tools
when buying, there is no obligation.
Extended warranties are big money makers for
dealerships, so if you are buying from a dealer,
go directly to the warranty provider and save
My RV Quote.
a Night in The Fifth Wheel or Toy Hauler Before
One of the most important tips from fifth wheel
owners is to make sure that you stay in the
fifth wheel that you choose at least overnight
at the RV dealers site. The bigger RV dealers
will normally allow you to do this and it is
by far one of the best ways to test out the
fifth wheel. If there are any problems with
the fifth wheel, you will normally pick them
up that night. You can also accumulate questions
to ask the dealer the next day. Many fifth wheel
owners drive off the lot and then have many
questions when they try and setup the fifth
sure the slides have an awning
Another important tip is to try and make sure
that all of your slideouts have an awning that
automatically extend when the slide extends.
This awning keeps leaves and debris off the
slideout roof, which can cause damage when the
slideout is retracted. Without an awning one
normally has to have a ladder to check the top
of the slides before retracting them.
Purchasing a Used Fifth Wheel - Hook-up the Water
So That You Can Check The Plumbing
Older fifth wheels tend to have some leaks, especially
around the toilet area. Check and make sure there
are no leaks. Replacing a toilet is not as easy
as it looks as some of the older toilets are not
available in the same footprint configuration
(where the toilet bolts to the floor). Check under
the rig to see if there are any leaks caused from
not winterizing the unit properly.
Sure To Operate The Slides on a Used Rig
Have the owner/dealer pull in the slides. If there
is any water damage to the walls around the slides
you will immediately see the slide either not
line up or the wall will move/buckle slightly
when the slide is pulled in.
Sure To Check The Roof of a Used Rig
Climb up the rear ladder on the rig and check
the roof. Well kept fifth wheels will normally
have a good condition roof. If the roof is badly
discolored or there is debris on the roof then
check inside the rig for signs of water leaks.