A warm hello from a family looking for advice on their first fifth wheel! | MotorhomeFun | The Motorhome Support and Social Network

A warm hello from a family looking for advice on their first fifth wheel!

vorneus

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Jun 8, 2020
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Hello everyone,

My name's Ed. My wife and I have been wanting to purchase a pickup and fifth wheel for camping around the UK ever since we RV'ed in California for our honeymoon (4 years ago!).

This year we've finally got to a position, financially and with our young daughter who is now 3, where we could actually make it happen and so I've been doing research and having a look around various places for what might be a good starter setup for us. My current thoughts are that a Kountrylite rig and a Ranger/Navara/Hilux would be a safe bet, but ideally I'd love to hear from people with first hand experience to impart some wisdom!

We're almost certainly looking to buy second hand, and were looking to spend somewhere in the region of £20,000 on the combination. As for how that is split between tow vehicle and rig I'm not quite sure, as I've heard conflicting advice!

Any pearls of wisdom?

Many thanks to all for reading,

-Ed
 

TCG

Jul 6, 2017
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welcome - your budget looks really tight to get both the tug and the van for 20k but good luck with your search

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Jun 12, 2016
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Have you the right category's on your driving licences?
Agree your budgets a bit tight
Make sure there are no damp issues most other things can be sorted fairly easily
 
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V

vorneus

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Jun 8, 2020
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Hi everyone - thanks for your replies!

Yes I'm aware budget is tight, but Ive seen a few used Kountrylites (2008's, etc.) for between the 7.5k and 10k mark so that's what I'm looking for. I could definitely stretch upwards to avoid making a duff decision though! Good advice re. damp Garfields so thanks for that - and re. driving licence not yet, but I'm aware of what I'll need to get.

To those who have said budget is tight, would you be able to suggest what might a better / more realistic budget to get started? Like, what I should be looking at in terms of cost for a tow vehicle and trailer - them both being second hand is a given. Or alternatively I could look at hire purchase for the tow vehicle to release a bit more to spend on the trailer.. lots of possibilities!

Thanks all,

-Ed
 

Bluemooner

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I saw a Celtic Rambler for sale on Fifth Wheel Owners Club UK facebook page for less than ten thousand sounded a good price

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pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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Have you the right category's on your driving licences?
Agree your budgets a bit tight
Make sure there are no damp issues most other things can be sorted fairly easily
B+E is all you need depending when you passed the test.
When all said and done it's only a car and caravan.
The only restriction is the tugs train weight and the weight of the van.
 

pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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You can drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg with a trailer.

The size of the trailer depends on the BE ‘valid from’ date shown on your licence. If the date is:

  • before 19 January 2013, you can tow any size trailer
  • on or after 19 January 2013, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg

Either test date will be OK for a lightweight 5th wheel... And the Kountrylite will be well under 3500kg, probably nearer 2000kg
 
Aug 18, 2014
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:welcome4:

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Minxy Girl

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Aug 22, 2007
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Since 1996 we've had Elddis, Swift, Rapido, Rimor, Chausson MHs and Autocruise & Globecar PVCs
Hi Ed, welcome to the fun house.

I'm intrigued, other than you using a 5th wheel set-up in the US, what made you decide on one for the UK instead of a car/caravan or motorhome?
 

TheBig1

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Nov 27, 2011
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many many years! since I was a kid
if you are on a tight budget, be careful if you choose the navara, the early ones were great tow tugs but the chassis rusted quickly leading to several snapped chassis. Nissan did a recall on them last year and took each one in, removed the rear tub and checked the chassis before repainting it and returning 2 weeks later. Unless it was cracked, then it needs to be shipped to Spain for repair, which takes many months. Or Nissan just wrote you a cheque and bought it back off you without negotiating.

just check that the navara has been through testing/repair and is ok. A good check is look at the chassis by the back wheel under the tub, if it's rusty walk away

by the way, mine was fine and the dealership commented on the great condition for a 2008
 
May 15, 2008
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Category BE
You can drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg with a trailer.

The size of the trailer depends on the BE ‘valid from’ date shown on your licence. If the date is:

  • before 19 January 2013, you can tow any size trailer
  • on or after 19 January 2013, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg

Either test date will be OK for a lightweight 5th wheel... And the Kountrylite will be well under 3500kg, probably nearer 2000kg
Not so for the weight of the Kountrylite, my low profile model weighed around 3500 in touring trim.

Figures were:
Pickup solo with driver and passenger..........................................2100
Pickup axles on weighbridge with 5'er hooked up...................2950
5'er axles on weighbridge...................................................................2980

Giving a gross train weight for the rig of 5930

MGW of 2008 Mazda Bt50(Ford Ranger)......3030

MTW...........................................................................6030

So not a lot to spare on either weights.
 

Snowbird

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Take great care when purchasing an older European truck, especially one with a box section chassis. They are prone to rot from the inside out as many of the double cabs have been used by the boat/jetski/surfboard brigade for launching. Also bear in mind that Euro trucks are much narrower than American fifth wheel trailers making it difficult to see down the side of the outfit when manoeuvring.

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funflair

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I am wondering why a 5th Wheeler rather than a RV or European motorhome, if you want to travel abroad are you welcome on the airs and stellplatz in these?

Martin

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Oct 2, 2008
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Advantages of 5ers over car caravan , more stable towing, slightly easier to maneuver, larger floor area for oal .
 
May 15, 2008
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Advantages of 5ers over car caravan , more stable towing, slightly easier to maneuver, larger floor area for oal .
Possibly in certain circumstances but the big disadvantage with 5'ers is that they cannot be dropped and moved into position by the use of motor movers which is important on many sites in Europe, especially older Spanish sites.

I know others have said that they never had a problem with this but with nearly 50 years experience of driving articulated vehicles and similar with caravans, also 10 years experience of towing a 5'er in Europe I think that I can speak with some experience.

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Oct 2, 2008
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Thats why I put "slightly" in the same way as moving a caravan with a front mounted hitch on the tow vehicle . We would appear to have same driving experiences except I would replace the 5'er experience with 12mtr RV :)
 

Snowbird

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I am now running my second fiver having owned one before. The reason I went back toa fiver after running several PLGVs was that I did not want to go down the medical route once reaching 70. The crazy part about it is, I can run a 30ft 3 slideout fiver and towtruck on my ordinary car licence, whereas a 30ft 3 slideout RV towing a trailer with car on would require me to renew my HGV.
One more aspect, id that on long term trips, I can leave the fiver on a pitch in Europe and nip back home in the donkey, saving a considerable amount of brass on the ferry. Just maybe thats how I managed to retire at 50.
 
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vorneus

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Jun 8, 2020
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Hi Ed, welcome to the fun house.

I'm intrigued, other than you using a 5th wheel set-up in the US, what made you decide on one for the UK instead of a car/caravan or motorhome?
I think we just really like the idea of them really! Having a second utility vehicle in the tow truck, the whole american style of the trailer we love, and the fact that it's less common and we'd just enjoy the whole experience!

Thanks Snowbird for the sound advice re. older rigs and rot - I've heard this from a few new!

We're currently debating between the relative positives / negatives of buying second hand outright vs. a new rig on finance. Tricky!

Thank you to everyone for such a warm welcome :)

-Ed & Kelly

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