Anyone toured Europe in a 5ver?

Discussion in 'Fifth Wheelers' started by nozzmoking, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    I know there are many full-timers who have a 5th wheel rig, but wondered if there was anyone who actually tour in a 5ver?

    I'm presently thinking a 31' / 34' would suit my purposes, but once a Dodge has been stuck on the front I'm not sure if this rig might be a little on the large size for touring Europe. I've no idea of the size of pitches/roads in Europe compared to what we have in the UK.

    The plan is to find a nice site, stay for 2 or 3 days, and in the meantime use the Dodge for sightseeing. I realise that with a largish rig, I'll need to plan ahead before just setting off for the next destination.

    If anyone has actually done something similar, I'd love to hear from you with any tips or advice you can offer. I've got my Big Pitch Guide for the UK, so feel comfortable in trawling around this side of the channel, but have no idea what to expect in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy etc. (Maybe once I've purchased the BPG for Europe my fears will subside?).

    I have a class 1 licence, so confidence is not lacking, but just need to make sure on what I'm doing before diving in and making my first 5ver purchase.

    Cheers :thumb:

    Paul
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  2. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    As you say, BPG does list some Europ. sites.
    As far as the roads go, we have been over most of Europe not with the 5er but a lot with a 30 ft converted coach, and all the main roads are good/big enough for hgv artics. so the main routes are no probs.
    Having said that we are planning to go to some more confined areas so we will be leaving the 5er here and use the demountable,when we can get away, we may find that we could have managed with the 5er, only time will tell, (the demountable will be cheaper on ferrys and road tolls, but up to now we find little difference on fuel cons.)
    We would suggest that you don't go too much over the 30ft length, esp. if you intend to tour. (ours is 30ft FLOOR LENGTH) the size on the the RV is not the total length.
    Pamala & Nigel
     
  3. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Pamela & Nigel

    Many thanks for your reply. It sort of sounds like I should be ok with around a 31' trailer, but I won't hold you to it! :RollEyes:

    I notice you have a 'Cummins' logo as your avatar, so do you run a large pickup? I'm hoping to go for a Dodge, and have been reading conflicting information so not sure whether I should be looking at a V8 petrol or a diesel. The main advantage I suppose with the petrol, is that I can convert to LPG, (or may be able to find one already converted), but not sure if the diesel would prove to be more economical. I know it's going to be an expensive hobby, but don't want to 'overbuy', i.e. buy a truck that is just too big for what I actually need, which is to pull a 31' trailer.

    Anyway, thanks again for your response, I'm getting to the point where I'll just have to bite the bullet and go for it!

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  4. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    Hi Paul

    I have Ford F150 Lightning pickup single cab short bed (but very very fast!!!). I could tow a 31 ft 5er with it as long it didnt have any more than 1 slide out. Its no bigger than a Nissan Nivara dbl cab and is very usable even round town. Downside is only 3 seats (not a problem for me as its only me, wifee and 1 child) poor fuel consumption (12ish mpg :Eeek:) but an LPG conversion would solve that.

    Parts are easy to get and its a dream to drive and cheap to insure.:Blush:

    No experience of towing a 5er but am giving it serious consideration when we sell the RV.:cry:
    Cheers:thumb:
     
  5. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    We have toured France, Spain & Portugal in winter for past few years with a caravan , this year we have sold up and after seeing several fivers last year are collecting one in a weeks time for this winters trip. The one we have picked is 26 ft ,so smaller than you are contemplating but the advantage is it can be towed by most standard UK pickups, we have a Mazda BT50.We spoke to a few fiver owners last trip and nobody mentioned any major difficulties, although from my own experience choice of pitch may be limited on many sites. If you are not in a hurry I could let you know of any problems etc that we encounter.
    Regards
    Alec & Kath
     
  6. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Dazzer,

    The F150 is an awesome truck which was my first choice, until I fell in love with the Dodge Ram. Quite fancy the Harley version of the Ford truck though.

    Having worked for an agency, some years back, driving all types of big artics and class 2 lorries around the country, I can only say that I'm sure you will love driving a 'bendy' vehicle. Very stable, and extremely maneuverable given the size. Reversing is like riding a bike, all over the place to begin with, and then all of a sudden you find the 'knack', and you never lose it. Just becomes second nature. Just find a bit of spare ground, and you'll be reversing like a pro in no time!

    That's a nice-looking RV you have for sale there! :thumb:

    All the best, and hope to meet up with some of you guys in the not-too-distant future.

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  7. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Now I'm jealous! :Angry: :thumb:

    Hi Alec & Kath,

    Great stuff! Have you gone for an US import, or the Celtic Rambler?

    I'll certainly be looking forward to any reports you can offer on the practicality aspect of touring abroad with a 5ver. After the amount of travelling you've already done in the caravan, I have a feeling you won't look back after experiencing a 5th wheel, as I consider it a brilliant concept for the tourer.

    Best of luck with your new purchase! :thumb:

    I'm itching to bite the bullet now!

    Best regards,

    Paul
     
  8. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    Hi Paul,
    we decided to go for an import built to UK spec for Calder Leisure Nr Edinburgh for various reasons, mainly simplicity in buying and confidence in the product but only time will tell.
    We are both looking forward to collecting and using the 5ver as we will be more or less fulltiming and hope this will be big enough, after living in the caravan for a while I am sure it will be. I have no worries about driving the rig as I have held a class 1 for 35 years but it will be interesting to find out about manouverability on sites, I will try and keep you posted.
    Regards
    Alec & Kath
     
  9. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    LOL, no problems for you then! :BigGrin:

    Do you remember seeing, (back in the early 70's I think), quite a few small commercial 5th wheelers? I think they were based on a Transit, or Bedford van of some sort. Usually plain, unmarked trailers. I haven't seen one for years, so wonder if they're still around.

    All the best

    Paul
     
  10. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    I wrote a huge reply and spent most of the afternoon trying to send it !!! now I've lost it!!!!
    I will try a little reply
    we bought our 5er with an old F250 V8 petrol, we changed that for the Cummins Dodge, it's not fair to compare these but thats all we have!!
    the dodge is MUCH cheaper on fuel (as you would expect) but with a gas conversion would be as cheap, maybe cheaper, cheap is not the correct word, but you know what we mean!!!!!! The Cummins has loads of torque, it levels out the hills
    Nigel & Pamala
     
  11. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    That one worked so we'll try a bit more!!!!!!
    When you compare petrol/gas to diesel you must consider the huge cost of the conversion, the weight and size of big gas tanks plus the fact that gas IS more of a bind to get. We run a V8 discovery on gas so we have some experience of it.
    If we were to change our truck, we would get a Cummins Dodge double cab 3500 4wheel drive, if we did not want to keep our truck camper we would possibly have a 2500 4wd with single rear wheels, our present truck has an 8ft bed, possibly a 6ft bed with a slider hitch would be ok, our truck IS BIG in tesco car park but we are ok with that (we have not, and probably never will attack a multi-story car park!!!!!!!!!
    Pamala & Nigel
     
  12. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Hi Pamala and Nigel,

    WE are looking at doing something similar and get a 38 foot unit and pull it on a ram 3500 but at shepton mallet last weekend our bubble was popped by the Fifth Wheel co:cry: They said it was not legal to use a dodge as a tow truck as it was not recognised by Vosa and the DVLA as a heavy goods vehicle or somesuch? Any ideas if this is the case? As experienced pullers have you encountered any issues?
    Its a big departure for us as we are looking to uproot our entire lives and go full time with 2 kids and desperately want to make sure we are not going to make a terrible mistake!
    We were dreaming of a heartland Big Country 3550TSL, its gorgeous!

    Thanks

    Sam
     
  13. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    So this was a UK 5th Wheel company telling you this was it?? What else did you expect?? :Doh:

    It isnt up to DVLA or VOSA as to what is or isnt a goods vehicle, its up to the manufacturer to tell them what it is and what it is capable of. This will be confirmed by VOSA (give them a ring they are really helpful!!) when you take it for its SVA test.:thumb:

    When i imported my Lightning it was imported as a commercial vehicle (it is after all a goods carrying pick up!!!) and i got slapped for a 25% import tax as well at the VAT. I therefor have an official government document stating that it is a commercial vehicle and when i took it for its SVA test it was officially recorded as a goods vehicle.:thumb:

    If a pickup with a weight carrying capacity as stated by the manfacturer of a couple of tonnes isnt a goods carrying vehicle then what is it??:Doh:

    And whats the difference between a Mitsubishi Warrior and a Ford F series truck anyway??:Eeek:
     
  14. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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  15. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Pamela & Nigel

    This looks like a good choice. Thanks for all the helpful info.

    Best regards,

    Paul
     
  16. tink

    tink Read Only Funster

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    Hi paul this is becoming a truckers forum I drive a Scania my self on lowloader work, pick up my 5ver tomorrow from Nich Marketing, Manby, Lincs. a 27' Sun Valley Xtremelite. My pickup is with them now having 5th wheel & elecs fitted it's a L200 double cab all red, had it converted 2 years ago to run on pure cooking oil it has seperate 5 gal. tank for diesel just to start from cold (as cheap as chips to run) done about 20000 miles since conversion no problems at all not even in winter going to work at 04.30 in the morning. taking it out next week for maiden voyage going to Holmsley camp site in New Forest from Derbyshire. will let you know how we get on. Regards Tony
     
  17. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Tony

    Great stuff, I bet you can't wait! :thumb:

    Niche Marketing is one of the dealers I've been checking out, and another in that neck of the woods, Cross Country UK who do much the same. I seem to be in a bad part of the country, (Newbury, Berks), as I just don't have any dealers nearby. The main ones I've found are either in South Wales, Lincs/Cambs., or Calder up in Scotland. I've been to a few of the shows now, and each time come away with a totally different wish-list.

    That's interesting about the cooking oil, I'd just yesterday been reading about how big a business it's become over in the US. Apparently, the manufacturers are saying that they're fed up with waiting for the big oil companies to offer a solution, so they've gone out and done it themselves. They have deals in place with some large restaurants, who previously had to pay for the waste oil removal, so it's a win-win situation.

    Cheers, and good luck tomorrow! :thumb:

    Paul
     
  18. Pikey Pete

    Pikey Pete Read Only Funster

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    I've been touring Europe for a while now and I've yet to see a 5th wheeler on the road.
    All the ones I've seen are statics on sites. Never seen one wild camping either.
    Pete
     
  19. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    Our 5ers are campers, AFAIK if they are used for goods carriage they come into a different class , they would need mot and different brake system
    They are becoming more popular by the day!!!!
    Pamala & Nigel
     
  20. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Dazzer you are of course right:Doh: We were won over by their conviction however in retrospect they didnt actually say why they thought they were illegally used or give us any legislation to prove it!:Blush:

    So if the tow vehicle is registered as a commercial vehicle over 3.5 ton gross vehicle weight am I right in assuming it can tow whatever it is capable of? Is there an upper limit. Does it have to comply with C1+E and the gross weight of the trailer not exceed that of the tow vehicle? Or if I were to get an HGV licence (as opposed to my current pre 97 entitlements) would this alter things?
    Thanks so much for the help and advice it feels like a bit of a legislative minefield out there:cry:

    Sam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2008

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