Live in 5th Wheel

Discussion in 'Fifth Wheelers' started by J&J, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. J&J

    J&J Read Only Funster

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    Hi all 5th Wheelers, we are new to the site and are considering a complete lifestyle change. We are seriously looking at buying a 5th wheel to live in year round, the idea being to work and live in this country 9-10months of the year and then travel to the sunshine for the winter. Is there anyone out there that has done this and can offer some good tips or things to beware of? Also as we will be living in it we would want the largest unit we can afford, having class 1 licence also means we will be looking to pull with something like a Volvo Tractor Unit. Again can anyone suggest the best places to buy new or used. Has anyone bought from the States and had one shipped over as we would be very interested to hear of their experiences. Still got plenty more questions but will leave it at that for now! J & J.
     
  2. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    You dont need a lorry to tow them with (unless you have 1 already!!!) If your buying from USA import a pick up as well. UK pickups tend to only be able to tow the smaller units where as something like a Ford F250-350 or similar Dodge model will drag anything around and give you a usable vehicle as well. :thumb:
     
  3. Groundhog

    Groundhog Read Only Funster

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  4. Groundhog

    Groundhog Read Only Funster

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  5. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    Now THAT's some rig.:Cool:(The first one posted)

    Might be a few problems getting it around some of our roads here though.

    We fell in love with one at Newark, and were looking at them in the USA.

    Definately worth importing one even though the £ has plummeted against the $.:Doh::cry:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  6. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    IMO a 42 odd foot rig is just too big, I am sure it will exclude you from the vast majority of camp-sites in Europe. But I can understand that you want it as big as possible because of the 10 months a year you are going to spend in the rain!! Down in the sunshine it will just become a big bedroom, as if you are like most people you will live outside almost all of the waking day. :Smile:
     
  7. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Jim,

    What would you say is the maximum sensible limit for touring UK & Europe? I'm considering a 31' at the moment but have seen a couple of 34' I like but am worried that this is just a little too big.

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  8. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    It really is difficult to say, someone will always come along and tell you that they go everywhere with their 52 foot RV and car/trailer combination. We have found that our 34 ft RV is generally OK. We can get most anywhere, but often that lovely RV size pitch that is advertised is impossible to get on when the pitch opposite or adjacent is occupied. It is here that the 5er might be better (or worse?) I have never driven one.

    I do know that in skilled hands people can really put a 5er anywhere, and they seem much more manoeuvrable than a regular RV. My ability to reverse a trailer is directly dependent upon how many people are watching:Eek!:

    We are getting a few experienced fifth wheelers here these days so I am sure a thread on size and touring will illicit a response.
     
  9. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    :Rofl1:

    Thanks Jim, I haven't managed to locate anyone yet who've actually toured Europe in a 5ver, only full-timers, so I'll start a thread as per your suggestion.

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  10. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Hi Paul,

    We have been looking at doing something very similar. we are looking to full time with our 2 young ones so we also want a big rig with 2 bedrooms.
    What does anyone know about the legalities of touring a big heavy unit?

    We were planning on a dodge 3500 to pull ours but at the shepton mallet show last week we were told that its not legal to do this. A bit of investigation has left us no clearer so we called VOSA for info. They say to look at the Road vehicle construction and use regs 1986 section 7 item 9 but we cant get this without buying the entire regs! Anyone got a copy?

    Gist we are getting is if your tow vehicle is PLG then cant tow over 8250 total train weight. Not sure if a RAM is classed as PLG as at nearly 5 ton its anything but!
    HEEELPPPP!

    Sam
     
  11. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Dazzer do you have experience of doing this with a big dodge? I know they are up to the job and then some and they look so cool:thumb: but I am finding that it may have to be classified as a large goods vehicle, to do so legally. Not sure if this is the case so any advice would be a huge help!

    Sam
     
  12. Andy - V8 Diesel

    Andy - V8 Diesel Read Only Funster

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    Hi there we have had our 5er for two years now and we love it :thumb::thumb:its 30ft with one slide out coupled to the truck front to back length 47ft :Eeek:and apart from doing senible planning for our journy and sites that we have chosen have not had any problems. Yes there have been some tight spots but take your time and you can back them in places you never thought possible. For next year we are planning on buying a 36ft 5er and going to France. Hope this helps
     
  13. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    It will be classed as a private HGV (same as an RV). If i were you id ring VOSA they are really helpful even told me how to get round a problem with the tow hitch fitted to the Lightning. At the end of the day its a small lorry and you can register and drive them here with no problem as long as its for private use you wont come into commercial vehicle legislation (tachographs etc):thumb:

    The pickup is a commercial vehicle (but used for private purposes) dont forget you will be charged import tax at 25% (not 10% like an RV!!) plus VAT, I found this out to my cost!!:cry:

    Just phone VOSA and the customs people they are really helpful. They will also confirm everything in writing which gives you some recourse id you have problems later on.:thumb:

    Good luck with it, I LOVE my F150 Lightning it is AWESOME :thumb::Wink:

    Ive just had another thought about the taxation thing. Im sure you dont pay import tax (or if you do its only 2ish%) and Im sure 5ers are also VAT free. (again id check this with HMRC but im sure ive read it somewhere)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  14. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Sam,

    I'm as confused as you on this one, and it seems the authorities have difficulty with the subject also. There seem to be so many confusing regs., pin weight, gross weight, whether you passed your test pre 1991 etc. etc. Of course the suppliers who deal with UK-spec vehicles, (which I think go up to 7' 6" wide, as opposed to 8' for the US imports), will argue that the imports are illegal however, with so many dealers importing the US-spec vehicles, it makes you wonder what the actual facts are. If all the insurance companies had a problem with the imports, then I'd maybe think twice, but that doesn't seem the case, so I'm going for it!

    Good luck with what you go for, and please let us know if you dig up any useful information.

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  15. nozzmoking

    nozzmoking Read Only Funster

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    Hi Andy - it certainly does!

    Have you gone further afield in your present 30'er, Spain, Portugal, Italy for example? You read of some great-looking beach sites etc. but never know if it's going to be a case of 'forget it', with a 5ver.

    I know the French Aires are meant for Motorhomes, but wondered if you can use them in a 5ver, or is it classed as a Caravan?

    Cheers

    Paul
     
  16. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    our friends imported their 34ft 5er themselves with no previous experience. It cost them less than £18k delivered to Cambridge (new) all duty/tax paid. The import duty is low because it is a "home" so does not attract luxury tax. A pick-up with a truck camper fitted also is taxed lower than the pick-up alone!!!!!
    Our friends never visited US, they did it all via internet.
    Pamala & Nigel
     
  17. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Yes we have had lots of advice saying we should import it ourselves and not go through a UK company. Lot of hoops to jump through but there seem to be a lot of savings to be had.
    Very interesting about import duty savings though, didnt realise there was a differentiation. I wonder if we could still claim it as a home though as we intend to keep our home but rent it out until we are certain this is the way forward for us.

    Thanks for the advice:thumb:

    Sam
     
  18. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Dazzer has made several valid points and made us feel a lot better (well not my wife, she has a stinking cold!!!).
    If we can get some official responses from VOSA and the DVLA to say that a Ram is a commercial vehicle used for private use then it adds a lot of clout if we get pulled over.
    Strikes me that 5th wheels are a new phenomena over here and there is a bit of a lack of clarity at the moment?

    In our case the Ram 3500 says it can pull the unit we want it has enough payload capacity to carry the hitch pin and its combined gross train weight is ok. The slight fly in the ointment is the DVLA which if I am reading it correctly says that the gross weight of the laden trailer cannot exceed the unladen gross weight of the tow vehicle. However it may also be that with a different licence entitlement (I only have C1+E from a pre 97 licence) that this may change! Just doesnt make sense as this does not change the capacity of the vehicle only the person driving it!!!

    Good luck and keep in touch, be very interested to hear how you get on, happy journey!

    Sam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2008
  19. J&J

    J&J Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the info and the pics Groundhog! Will have to give them a ring and have a look at what they have got.
    With regards the legalities of driving licences I can help a little bit there as I have just done a CPC course in Road Haulage. Anyone who passed their test prior to 1997 was granted the C1+E licence and it will say on your licence "Category Restriction 107" this allows anyone to tow up to an overall gross weight (towing vehicle & trailer with all goods on board, fuel, driver & passengers included) to 8250kg (8.25tonnes) or a vehicle of 7.5 tonnes towing no more than 750kg. All vehicles & trailers will have a plated gross weight which should be on the vehicle and the trailer somewhere so this may be something to be careful of with some of the bigger trailers. For a combination which is over 8250kg then an LGV test needs to be taken to gain the C (rigid over 7.5 tonnes) and then C + E which covers towing with a C class and is also required for driving articulated vehicles.
    All drivers who passed there test after 1997 have to take further tests for everything! Even towing a caravan.
    With regards the width of the trailers the UK also have some lovely laws!! Trailers drawn by a vehicle not exceeding 3.5 tonnes max gross weight cannot be wider than 2.3m (7ft 6") hence why our caravans are 7'6". Trailers drawn by a vehicle exceeding 3.5tonnes max gross weight can go up to 2.55m. I don't know what the gvw of vehicles such as the Dodge are but it does explain why our caravans etc are only 7'6 as the majority of vehicles owned by the general public will not exceed 3.5 tonnes. Hope this helps!
     
  20. MammaLL

    MammaLL Deleted User

    Thanks for this, it is more or less how I understood but the info on LGV tests is very useful!
    The dodge 3500 is over 4000Kg. So as I understand it I can drive this on my standard pre 97 licence but I can only tow up to the same gross weight again and cannot exceed 8.25 ton. To tow greater I need to take further tests to gain c+e status. I understand there is then no limit on what can be towed other than the road limitations and the capacity of the tow vehicle.
    Does this sound right?
    I also understand I have to get the dodge classified as a commercial goods vehicle, but this can be done when imported at the SVA test and as the vehicle is classed as this by the manufacturere it should not be too much of a challenge.... I hope!:RollEyes:

    Sam
     
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