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  #1  
Old 03-29-2008, 08:45 AM
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Fifth Wheel Questions?

I am looking to get a used Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer. I am looking at 34' to 40' under 13.5K# I have a F250. It will mostly be a Park Trailer for work, and MAYBE make one or two trips a year! Since this would be my first Travel Trailer I would like to know:

1) What things to check for to make sure that I am getting a good trailer.

2) Any suggestions as to good Models?

3) What Options should I be looking out for that will make it much easier to use?

Any Suggestions from those that already have them would be appreciated!

Bob~!
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:55 AM
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I'm in the same boat (so to speak) as you. Subscribing for ideas.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:56 AM
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What I would look at. If it's been sitting in a campground all it's life, it's going to need tires, and the brakes and light all checked out. Look for roof leaks, mostly around seams and roof vents and air conditioners. Check the closet draws for open and closing knobs/handles locks. Check refrigerator make sure it get cold(freezer should be chilly after being on for 10 mins or so). they can be expensive to replace. Check the furnace make sure it lights and stays lit. Hot water tank,same as furnace, water pump, holding tanks, sewer dump valves. Make sure you like the lay out inside. there are many different styles so find one you like. It's a buyers market, so you have the freedom to choose.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:59 PM
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:13 PM
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I would agree with Gruss; that's a good start. Make sure your fridge works on both gas and electric. Check the slides and feet for any wear marks, possibly indicating alignment issues. (They are expensive to replace). Pull out the awning and run water across it to check for leaks. Many times they will look fine and leak where it attaches to the trailer. Check the holding tanks to ensure they don't leak. Run the generator, if it has one, and run it under a heavy load (microwave, fridge, AC and TV all running) and see if it has problems handling the load. If you have a satellite connection or digital cable, ensure the internal cabling is rated RG6, otherwise, you will not pass the signal. (Believe it or not, my 2003 had RG59). 10 gal hot water tank is MUCH nicer than 6 gal, but isn't mandatory, just like a 50 amp service feed is better, but 30 amp will do just fine if you don't have dual AC units. Dual batteries and at least two propane tanks are good ideas, as well.

I would also suggest that a good way to tell if the previous owner has taken care of their trailer is to pull the anode from the hot water tank. They should be replaced every year, so if it's all eaten away, you will know they haven't been doing their maintenance.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:57 PM
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Check the roof for any areas that could have leaked. Open closet and cabinet doors and check for obvious signs of leakage such as discoloration of paneling inside these areas as they will hide leakage signs. Check around all windows to make sure that the sealant is as it should be, then go inside and check under the windows for signs of leakage as well. In my experience, leaking is the single most common problem associated with used travel trailers. Try to find out if it was stored under a cover or not. I would suggest that a trailer stored under cover is far less likely to have common problems like this as the sun can be detrimental. Check any fiberglass seams in the hitch area. Seams coming apart in this area can be a sign of a problem with the frame work. Like the others have suggested, check the refrigerator,a/c and other major appliances for proper operation. If you open the door to the fridge and smell ammonia, that is a sure sign that there is a problem. Check tires closely. When one comes apart, they can do alot of expensive damage. Run out the slides and check for alignment and make sure nothing binds on its travel. Check electric front jacks for proper operation.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:14 PM
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IF you can make sure it has a aftermarket propane heater they are nice I have always had problems with the forced air furnace running down my batteries and if possible solar panels they are nice don't have to plug the trailer in to charge batteries.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:20 PM
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Keep the comments coming!!

Thanks guys!
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:51 PM
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Inspect the under carriage. Look for signs of the underbelly panels being removed or if they have holes cut in them, this could be a sign of a prior problem with the holding tanks or valves. If your going to travel to colder climates try to get heated tanks. This is very important there is nothing worse than your poo frozen in the tank. If you like the trailer but the tanks are not heated don't worry you can add heat trace wiring (available at most hardware stores) to the outside, while your doing that heat trace the valves and any water lines. When your done make sure you re-seal the underbelly. Some other things are storage space, if your going to live in it, like I do, then there's nothing more important. Buying a model that has factory tinted windows helps keep the inside from fading where the sun shines in. Some of the newer models have washer/dryers in them or a hook up for it. These are nice, I have one of the combo units, they are good for basically washing 1 days worth of clothes. Whatever you wore that day will fit and it will do a good job, but be prepared to iron. Look under the sinks at the shelves, look for any signs of water spots, or wood swelling. Make sure the toilet holds water in the bowl, if not it's going to need the seals replaced, not expensive, but a must do. If the unit has been sitting ask if it was winterized. If so then someone most likely took care of it, or cared enough to do this. If I think of more I'll post them. If you want to buy new I recommend a toy hauler, if your going to live in it. They have tons of storage space. Check out the Keystone Raptor model 3600RL, that's what I have. It's a half-hauler, the only one on the market that I know of. Good luck
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:53 PM
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Oh and don't forget to insulate the under side if your going to be messing under there. A few dollars spent on this will def pay off later.
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