Truck Research and Snow in KC

Just when you think winter might have shown its face for the last time it snows in Kansas City.  Fortunately, it was beautiful to look at and gone later in the afternoon as the temperature went up.  I’m hoping our plumb trees bear fruit because they have already bloomed and there are a couple freezing nights ahead of us. The boys find a place to hang out when it’s bad outside.

Ringo found a pile of sheets to sleep on because Huck already took up a position on the dog bed.  We also have two cats.

Sylvester appears in the above photo in a typical position after he eats. Sylvester prefers moderate weather and often stays inside when its bad outside. We don’t plan to travel with all these animals in the future. The dogs are getting older so we will have to see who is with us in a couple years.  Sylvester came home with Karen from the veterinarian’s office as an adoption (two years ago). She is looking for a new home for Sylvester which I hope goes well. The dogs love to travel but the cats are used to roaming the acreage outside which is not going to work in an RV.

I spent time inside as well. Finally gathered up all the canning jars, pressure cooker and such to post on Craigslist.  I’m trying to sell off items in larger groups. Next might be the motorcycle, helmets and bike pack. The end of my vegetable growing hobby reminded me of my Uncle Don at about my own age. As I recall, we were standing in his backyard near the base of the stairs leading from his deck and noticed his garden plot was not planted. Don said he stopped planting because it was too much work.  I am like him in a lot of ways. His garden included a watering system therefore so did mine.  Life is a heck of a lot shorter when you think about others who have passed and what they were up to at your own age. No doubt Uncle Don figured out everything he wanted to know about gardening so he moved on to something else. That’s a family trait.

I’ve been hacking away at truck research, adding a new section on the blog to keep my notes. You can find the truck page here.  I stayed up late one night building trucks online to get the base prices. I know what our budget is and am working on finding out the price points each of these monsters come in at. That way it might narrow the search to a model or two from each truck manufacturer that is in line with our budget. These diesel suckers are expensive. I can remember when $10,000 would buy a new Cadillac.

Snap 2017-03-12 at 21.21.52
The starting prices shown include necessary options such as fifth wheel hitch preparation, on-the-fly electronic 4×4, minimum of cloth interior and running boards. The prices include rebates or incentives as of today at the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP).

It’s interesting to note additional options sometimes come in a package when selected. Such as Chevy/GMC requires you get a spray in bed liner if you select the fifth wheel hitch preparation.  I also found the base price between all the trucks are within about $500 to $720 of one another. Not much of a price difference to be concerned about.

I’m in the process of learning about what options influence the trucks weight capabilities. Hopefully learning what others mean by a “properly equipped truck can handle” a specific fifth wheel weight.  And along the lines of weight. There are a ton of places to consider such as gross cargo weight and rear axle weight where the front of the camper rides over the truck.  There are assumptions that might factor in such as what is the average cargo weight stored in the front of a fifth wheel. And people are posting in forums you can’t always trust the fifth wheel manufactures posted weights. Some are suggesting pin weight is 10 to 20% (update, a couple readers said their pin weight loaded is 19 and 21%) of the total fifth wheel weight. But then again cargo loaded in the rear of the fifth wheel will offset some of the weight in the front when it pushes down on the rear of the camper, like a teeter totter.  So much to learn. I may be sick in the head but I’m enjoying the research.  Those guys over on the truck forums really are proud of their trucks!  Someday I hope to know enough to ask intelligent questions. Give it a try. Go online and build a truck. Watch how the weight capacity changes when you select gear ratio, 4×4 and engine.

Once I get the spreadsheet done I may post a link to it so folks can look it over.  I’m off to start learning about all the optional equipment so I can build one of each truck online and get closer to the actual MSRP with the options we are interested in. What’s cool about building the truck online are the links to similar equipped trucks for sale in the area.


new flash  Here is an informative blog post by Hebard’s Travels titled How to Travel with Cats in an RV


15 thoughts on “Truck Research and Snow in KC

  1. Hey Mark, we finally got the video up. I’m sorry the WiFi has been nuts now that spring breakers are here… Definitely making notes of that one in the future. We have the video up talking about the Cedar Creek, I’m sorry I didn’t know another way to contact you so if you do not want this on your page please delete. It’s a long video but it goes over a lot.


  2. Thanks for sharing information about your truck research. We have a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel now, and plan to trade it for a 1 ton – possibly an automatic (ours is manual) which we learned is better for towing. Your research is most helpful. Thank you!


    • Shari, thanks for stopping by. I’ve known a few people hauling a relatively lighter fifth wheel with a 2500 diesel. I’ve not completed the research but know the one ton is around a $1,300 option. Karen and I had thought about starting out with a F250 or 2500 and a lighter trailer to see how the lifestyle goes. I’m fairly sold on the one ton regardless. She drove my other trucks with no problem and I’m hoping the one ton will not be too intimidating for her as I’d hate to have to drive her to the store, or otherwise, when she needs to go some place. I have only driven one diesel pickup. It had a lot of power on take off. Not sure if they are all like that but if they are, we both will have to get used to gently putting our foot on the gas.


  3. that reminds me I still have to go into the basement and get rid of all my homebrew equipment.. I dont like craigslist much I have to admit.. the people there are somewhat questionable.. do you meet them at a public place or do you meet them at home when you sell something ?


    • I meet them at a public place most of the time. Usually at McDonalds where I know they have inside and outside cameras. This McDonalds is kind of centrally located in the city so it’s easy to get too. I’ve never let them tell me where to meet. I go inside the restaurant and tell them to meet me inside. So far no one has given me fake money either. I sold a boat and truck so they had to meet me at home. If I were to meet them at home, on rare occasion, I would move the items outside and not let them come inside. Also, our Sheriff’s Office has a program where we can meet in the lobby which I’ve done one time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish I could adopt Sylvester–he looks like he has a lot of character. That picture cracked me up! Our bullmastiff likes cats for dinner (not really, but she enjoys chasing and terrorizing them), and a cat is not in our near future because of her. Good luck on your Craig’s List selling and downsizing. There’s so much to do to prepare and (for me) it seemed so very stressful while going through all of that decision making and what goes where. You seem to have it altogether, and anyone contemplating this lifestyle has a good resource in your blog and how you are so thorough in your research. We are heading to Branson to spend time with our daughter the beginning of May–I’m still hoping that we will be able to cross paths during the two months we are there. Dawn


  5. I’d be worried only running at 10% pin. I’ve read as low as 15%. I am running at 19% and I’m running fine.

    Man, those trucks are getting expensive. I’m going to keep my 08 Ford going as long as I can!


  6. Our 5er is +/- 16,500#’s and our pin is about 21% of that or 3,600#’s. We ride fine. Research Bill has done says pin weight should be between 15 and 25%.
    Jim is right that it is hard to always be able to add weight behind the axles, especially hard to add it evenly on both sides, as most rigs will have just chairs or a couch on one side and a TV and cabinets on the other. We do not have a washer/dryer adding weight, nor a gennie, although instead we have 500# of batteries and associated items where the gennie would go – so I guess that’s a wash. Weight distribution is always a juggling act in a 5er. Before adding the batteries the pin weight was 3325# and before adding all our full-time stuff we weighed in at 15,075#.


    • Kelly, thanks for the weight numbers. I looked up a 2014 Heartland Grand Canyon where it was posted with the max weight capacity, dry weight and hitch weight when not loaded. Added a lot of meaning to the numbers. That is one nice trailer. If their numbers are correct the pin (hitch) weight dry is 2,295 so you would have maybe 1,305 in cargo in that total weight of 3,600 pounds. Getting the numbers from you and Jim means a lot. Thank you,

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Final Truck Research | Our Future in an RV

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