When we started on our MisAdventure, we really had no idea what to look for in a recreational vehicle or trailer. We searched for months, looking at hundreds of units, time well spent. We bought a 2002 Aljo Scout fifth wheel trailer that, end to end, is 29 feet long. Loaded weight is over 10,000 pounds. This unit has fiberglass siding and a one piece rubber roof. All of our previous camping experiences were done with tents or pickup campers, so this unit seemed huge by comparison. We were trying to balance our fulltime living needs with the desire to go off road to the remote camps we have known living in Colorado all our lives, this unit fit the bill.
Here are some of the recreational vehicle accessories installed on our house. We had the fifth wheel hitch adapted with a gooseneck adapter, as this was the hitch that was already installed on the Mighty 350 truck we also purchased. The gooseneck setup has not caused any problems, and is probably more flexible than a conventional hitch when journeying off the beaten path.
We have added JT's Strong-arm Stabilizers to the unit. These nifty little arms lock in place when setting up to reduce the wiggle and wobble when moving about the house. The installation was easy and this product does the trick, no more movement when moving around. Setup time was not significantly increased either.
Onboard power is now supplied by solar. We added three new 100 amp hour AGM batteries to the storage compartment, Solar PV panels, a Solar Boost 3024i controller, and a 1500 watt DC/AC converter for 110 VAC needs. We travel with a large Coleman 5000 generator and a small Honda 800 generator, but will re-evaluate our needs now that we enjoy electricity from the sun. Look for a Solar page soon.
We replaced the mattress that came with the trailer with our Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed that we had in our sticks and bricks. Think about it, you spend half your life in bed, why not be comfortable when living full time on the road as well. We check our settings after moving, as the changes in elevation have an effect on our personal sleep number. If you have never slept on one of these, you will not be disappointed.
The Mighty 350 is a 1999 Ford F-350 4X4 Super Duty Powerstroke dually truck with an automatic transmission. The engine is a huge 7.3 liter diesel with turbocharger. The 4 wheel drive was an option we thought we needed, although in retrospect, we have used it only a couple of times in almost three years of use. The duel rear wheels make the ride much smoother when towing, and spread the load more evenly.
Fuel mileage has been disappointing as this beast gets only 15 miles per gallon at best when not towing, and a dismal 8-10 MPG with the 5er attached. As accessories go, we added an aftermarket AIRAID intake system and air filter in the hopes of improving mileage, and although there was a noticeable boost in power, no additional MPG was attained. Diesel mechanics and other Powerstroke owners tell us that changing the factory chip with a high performance chip will gain 2-3 MPG, but we have not yet gone that route. Another big improvement we would like to install is an exhaust brake, as we are using up brakes too quickly.
We run Michelin LTX M/S tires and just installed a new set in March, 2008. We got 46K miles with the first set, and are happy with the quality of Michelin tires.