Best structured 5th wheel

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    Michael Henderson

    Hi everyone.

    We are looking for a 5th wheel and truck. Our time frame is 2 years but are open to buy now and onward if we find the right thing. “She” is all about big windows, king size bed all that. I am most concerned about the build quality of what is out there.

    To me, the worst thing you could do to these is travel with them. I get the feeling that caulking prevents leaks but a swaying structure weakens and opens up those small cracks.

    If I am right., is there any RV that is structurally more sound to last longer? 3″ beams instead of 1″ or whatever.  And our plan was to have one for 10 years possibly, maybe 5000 miles per year but the more I look, the more that may sound like a pipe dream. Maybe 5 years before they become too weak to bother?

    Any general or specific info along those lines would be nice.

    We are looking for a 35-38 footer. If we could find a good one that a gas truck would pull, that would be over the top.

    Thanks for any input.


    Hi Michael,

    What you’re asking for won’t be cheap and will need a good sized diesel truck to tow with. Better made trailers are naturally going to be a lot heavier.

    Here is an example of  fifth wheel that is built like you want –

    Cheaper fifth wheels can last more than 5 years, though, ours is 5 and 1/2 now and we have over 50,000 miles on it.


    There aren’t a lot of choices. Some recommend buying a used high end rig and make whatever changes you want to suit your needs.  I’m going with an Arctic Fox 35-5Z. Not the fanciest compared to some but they build their own frame. I refuse to buy anything that has a Lippert frame. My last rig was an ’05 and suffered from cracked welds and metal fatigue around the pinbox area. They are still having the same problems today. You’d think by now they would realize they have a problem and take steps to correct it.  I plan to have Moryde IS suspension installed which should help alleviate some of the abuse meted out by our roads.

    As Ray said, better built equals heavier and you will need a truck to handle it. Right now my choice is 2017 Ford F350 dually. Dodge came real close but for the placement of the head rests which my wife didn’t like. Sorry Dodge, or rather Ram.



    Ever look at a Spacecraftrv . They are well built and costly. If we had a unlimited bank roll we would.

    Michael Henderson

    I did but out of my league. I have been reading on the Carriage Cameos and they look to be a truly full time RV the way they make their frames. But since they went to Crossroads, is it still done the same?

    I wouldnt be opposed to getting an older one and assume the frames might last 20 years but that might be a stretch. The carpet, flooring, furniture etc I can always upgrade but the weaker frames, IMO is what eventually cause the leaks, and of course lack of maintenance caulking.

    It would be risky to a certain extent, I wonder if anyone else has bought older, say 2008 – 2010 (this year is 2016) and found it to be a good move.

    Stephen C Keller

    Any used 5th wheel can either be good or bad. Alot depends on how it was taken care of by the previous owners and how much the dealer attempted to cover up. If you go used one thing to do is take time to go over as much you can before purchasing. I know some repair techs would take a look for you for maybe a little side money in their pocket or maybe for free. I have seen high dollar ones that were ready to fall apart with a deep pothole in the road and yet seen a cheaper brand that was like new so it pays to take time to look around. One thing about getting one for less money is you could change and add what you want and make it fit you. Just an idea. This is what I did. I am pulling a 38 footer with a 1988 Chevy R30 Silverado dually tonner, 454 gas and don’t lack power at all. But what works for me is I do my own work so what I save by doing that I can put more into my unit.

    Take your time looking around. Try to not be in a rush. Make a list on what you would want and go by that when you look.  Good luck  :yahoo:

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