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Old 11-14-2004, 04:49 AM   #1
Jim and Marcia
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Need some information

We are new members and enjoy reading the forums with questions and responses.
We are planning on retiring (a second time) this coming spring and have been RVing for several years now. So, of course, we will be expanding our horizons in this area and plan on doing some traveling in the future.
We now have a 2001 31ft. Montana TT with a slide-out but are looking at buying a 3295 FW. We pull with a 2001 Dodge 3/4 ton 2-wheel drive. It has a Cummings diesel with a chip and 6-speed transmission. Have been very happy with its performance.
We have a couple of questions we would like some feed back on.
1. Why are there so many RVers who pull with a 4-wheel drive truck?
I've pulled all kinds of trailers for many years and only need 4-wheel drive once or twice a year and then it is because I am where I shouldn't be.
2. What is the consensus on putting a washer/dryer in an RV? Is it worth while?

Jim and Marcia from Iowa






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Old 11-14-2004, 05:29 AM   #2
Karl
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In response to your questions, I think first that you will find that whatever truck a person has, he/she will tell you it is the right one... just human nature of course.

1. We are from Wisconsin and have found the 4wd to be useful for the times of the year that we are here and have snow. In addition, there have been several times when backing up an incline to our site (especially on wet grass or on loose gravel) when the wheels would just spin and 4wd was useful to us) We had 4wd previously on 4 different suburbans when we pulled TT's, so it was natural for us to get one this time. In addition, resale of a 2wd pickup in Wisconsin is not as easy as reselling a 4wd.

2. We chose not to have a washer/dryer installed, but we do have the prep for it. We didn't want to add the additional weight unless we found that we really wanted the w/d. Thus far, we have not found the need since we don't mind going to a laundromat. Other than our major stint in Arizona, much of our other use of the 5th wheel is in places with only 20 or 30 amp service, or is without electricity altogether. I'm glad we had the prep in case we change our mind in the future.
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Old 11-14-2004, 05:41 AM   #3
vickir
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Welcome to MOC! Although I'm a relatively new member myself, I thought I'd give you a woman's point of view on your questions. ]

1. We have a 4x4 because it was on the truck when we bought it. We have had an occasion or two with the rig when we would have been up a creek without it, but since we spend November and December in the Kansas City area, there is always a possibility of needing it just to get from here to there.

2. We also have the 3295 (LOVE IT!!!)and we have a washer and dryer. When we started our retirement prep, I asked Steve where we could put a w/d in our 2880 or what kind of laundry baskets he preferred when he went to the laundromat.

I've talked to lots of people who prefer having the storage and/or the social inter-action of laundromats/cg laundry room. I just prefer having my own w/d and being able to do laundry in my jammies, if I want. And, on days like today (cold!), I don't have to go outside at all.

We've had two instances in the last 20 months (since we started full-timing) that I've had to use the cg's laundry facilities and, judging from what I had to pay at those, I'm sure our w/d have probably paid for themselves by now. (Plus, at one of those cgs, I had to deal with a not-so-nice woman who had left her clothes in the only two washers. That's another +++ to having a w/d in your rig ... you don't have to deal with that kind of problem!)

Anyway, it all comes down to personal preference. Whatever you decide, I'm sure if you go for the 3295, you'll love it.

Have fun!!!
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Old 11-14-2004, 06:35 AM   #4
Jim and Marcia
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Thanks Vicki and Karl for the info. Your reasons for a 4-wheel drive truck make sense (we've been to Wisconsin and Kansas can be a bear in the winter also.) We'll probably try going without the w/d and see if we think we will need it.

Jim and Marcia from Iowa
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Old 11-14-2004, 08:31 AM   #5
rames14
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Jim and Marcia -

Many of us who aren't retired also use our vehicles for other purposes. My truck doubles as my hunting/fishing vehicle when not towing the 5er. 4 wheel drive is great on slick boat ramps, not to mention where cars can't go in the boonies of Wyoming where I hunt. In fact, last week I had it in 4x4 low range. So, 4x4 is not a necessity but a nicety.

As for the washer/dryer, I am not sure you will find a consensus. If I were fulltiming, I would want one just to have for those things I want cleaned right away. They do have limitations (from what I am told) compared to conventional units.

I can tell you coming from a 27' TT to a 5er that you will really enjoy the difference in towing. Good luck.
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Old 11-14-2004, 09:13 AM   #6
sreigle
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Hi, Jim and Marcia,

I'd like to expound a little on vickir's reply (she's my wife), if I may.

We towed for several years without 4wd and didn't miss it. Never really needed it. When we traded trucks, the new one happened to have 4wd. There were a couple of times where it helped us get into a particular site. If we did not have 4wd we would have picked a different site. There was one site we were in for over a month. There was a ton of rain in that month. The access to our gravel pad was grassy at one time but had turned into a giant mudhole. This was a backin site. We barely got out even with 4wd. I could have paid or asked for help to get it out if needed but in fourwheel low I was able to get the Montana out of there. When we recently traded trucks again I specified I wanted 4wd, not so much for towing, but because, as Vicki said, we spend Nov/Dec near our kids and grandkids in the Kansas City area. Because this area is prone to ice and snow during that time of year and because we, as fulltimers, have just the one vehicle, a 4x4 just makes sense for us. But no way do I feel you must have 4x4 to tow your Montana.

We also have the 3295RK. This model has a high allowance for how much weight you can put in it without exceeding the GVWR. The brochure says 3,940 lbs. That would have to include the battery, propane tanks, any liquids in the tanks, as well as all our food and gear. We're very heavily loaded (13,980 lbs with gvwr of 14,300). My personal feeling is this is our home. If there's something we want onboard and so long as we don't exceed gvwr, then it's going with us. To tell the truth, I doubt the w/d weigh more than maybe a hundred pounds. If our truck cares about another hundred pounds then I'd be worried about the truck anyhow. It does such a terrific job I sure don't worry about it.

If you are unsure about wanting a washer/dryer, then you are taking the sensible approach of waiting to see. I would recommend you get the w/d prep when you buy your Montana. Then you can easily add the w/d later. Otherwise you won't have the plumbing and electrical in place and adding a w/d will cost you a whole lot more. If you don't need it, I don't think the plumbing takes much room out of that closet.

I don't know where you are in Iowa but I have a sister and family in Ames.

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 11-14-2004, 09:38 AM   #7
Jim and Marcia
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Steve,
Appreciate the input. We live in Ainsworth, Iowa, 20 miles south of Iowa City. Ames is northwest of Des Moines so it is a ways from us but we do get up that way to visit occasionally.

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Old 11-14-2004, 11:10 AM   #8
sreigle
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Ahhh, Iowa City! Home of Nick Collison, college basketball player of the year last year (we're avid Kansas Jayhawks basketball fans!). Thanks for the reply.

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Old 11-14-2004, 12:58 PM   #9
Glenn and Lorraine
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I have a 4X4 because.. That's what I have always driven before the RV days and I just carried it over. Being from northern New York where they measure yearly snow accumulation in hundreds of inches you learn to appreciate 4X4's. Since we have been fulltiming I have needed 4 wheel drive numerous times. A few times on wet grass. The 1st time was in my own backyard. Wanted to move the rig onto the driveway in preparation of embarking on our fulltime adventure the next morning. Another one in was trying to back up hill into a site on wet grass. Another was exiting a sandy site, this one needed low range 4 wheel drive. In all cases without the 4X4 I would have required a tow truck to get where I needed to go.
AND this past summer had I gotten back to my camp site just 10 minutes sooner I could have pulled my neighbor out of a muddy situation. We returned just as the cg owner was unhooking his 4X4 Dodge from my neighbors 4X2 Chevy. If nothing else at least I would have saved him the humiliation of having a Dodge come to his rescue.
I would not want to be without my 4X4.

As far as a washer/dryer? Our 04 2955RL is not set up for a washer/dryer. If it were we would use that space for additional storage. We have no problem using the local laundromats. In fact the laundry in our current campground is less than 75 feet away.
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Old 11-14-2004, 01:20 PM   #10
contau lake
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Our 4X4 is required because we live in central Ontario and get a ton of snow before we head south and there was a time when we did endure winter and loved it. Last year on our way home from Texas we decided to do a little touring along the East Coast of Texas. Unfortunately we ran into some road repairs and they detoured us for about 8-10 miles onto a stretch of beach which was being graded and we had no other options but to keep going! I was certainly happy to have the 4X4 then as the sand piles left by the grader were an interesting challenge for the RV in front of us (no four wheel drive) and we had no problems.
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Old 11-14-2004, 03:12 PM   #11
Just148
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Welcome to the forum,
I agree with every post, I have a 4x2 for the Montana and needed a 4x4 backing up my own drive way to the barn. I had to get my 1500 chevy. 4x4 to pull the 4x2 and the Montana out of this situation. I would go for the 4x4. If you don't have it, you can't use it.....
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Old 11-15-2004, 06:57 AM   #12
patodonn
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4x4..not needed by us in over 18 months of traveling "full time". Of course, one of our objectives is to NOT be in locations where hundreds of inches of snow or icy hills are factors! LOL..Seriously, we havn't encoutered any situation where 4x4 was a necessity, or even close.

Washer/drier...the size combo units available are just too small for our liking. From what we've seen, you can't do more than a couple of bed sheets at once. and it takes a LONG time for the drying. Lots of water usage as well. Unless you are hooked up to 50 amps, I'm not so sure that it is really a usable situation..certainly not if air conditioning is also necessary. We have found that about 50% of our locations do not have 50 amp service.

As Vicki mentioned, some places have less than optimal laundry facilities, but we have found that most of the larger places are OK. In general, we have found it saves a lot of time and effort to do 3 or 4 loads at once and get it over with. We use the W/D area for clothing storage. Prep is there, just not used.

Best Regards,
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Old 11-15-2004, 10:27 AM   #13
sreigle
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Patodonn makes some good points and I thought I should clarify a couple of my own points. Ours is a stack, separate washer and dryer, same thing you'd have in an apartment. It does do smaller loads but not ridiculously so. We run ours when hooked up to 30 amp service even though we have 50 amp capability. In our case, the extra 20 amps are not being used since it seems to be for the second AC prep. We have the prep, but not the second AC. Just wanted to point that out that ours doesn't seem to require 50 amp service.
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Old 11-15-2004, 01:52 PM   #14
stiles watson
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The other side of the page is where I sit.

1. Rear wheel drive vs. 4x4 is to me a weight and mileage issue. As has been stated by others, "I didn't miss it when I didn't have it." The GCVW is always an issue that merits close watch. A few pounds here and a few pounds there... SRW is lighter and 4x4 seldom needed. As far as the possibility of getting stuck somewhere, that's why I carry emergency road service through Couch.Net and others carry AAA or ERS from Good Sam. I would carry it even if I had 4x4. The difference in mileage is as much as 1 or 2 mpg. that's 10% to 15% when towing. If this doesn't matter to you, then it doesn't matter. I may regret at some juncture that I don't have 4x4 or a dually set up but I am yet to be convinced. All the arguments for 4x4 have merit but there are other issues to consider.

2. We lost a closet and gained an apartment style stacked washer/dryer unit. It certainly smaller than a household unit but is ample for the two of us. Our second air conditioning unit and the w/d are on the same circuit breaker. Obviously can't run them simultaneously. There is a toggle switch for selection. Neither do the washer and dryer function simultaneously. There is a switch on the appliance to select. We prefer the convenience of having it there and available. If we don't anticipate using it or the second air unit, then we hook up to 30 amps rather than 50 amps.

Whatever you do, you can find reasons and rationalizations to justify the doing. Whatever you pick , be happy and don't second guess yourself.
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Old 11-15-2004, 02:08 PM   #15
sreigle
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Just wondering why yours is set up for just washer or just dryer to run. We run both at the same time and do it while on a 30amp connection and also have one electric heater going (on low). If we want to use the microwave while washer and dryer are both going then we turn off the heater so we don't pop a breaker. This isn't a one-time-and-we-were-lucky-to-get-by-with-it situation. We've been doing this almost weekly for 20 months. Well, in warm weather we have the AC going in tandem with w/d instead of the heater. In that case the AC gets turned off when we want to run the microwave, toaster, or coffee pot while w/d are running too.

I find it strange they set yours up to be either/or.
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Old 11-15-2004, 02:12 PM   #16
Jim and Marcia
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Thank you everyone for all the comments to our questions. Actually we probably won't be changing trucks but we were just curious about the reason so many folks had 4x4. Have a pretty good understanding now. We can see the w/d question is just personal preference.
Thanks again for the input.
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Old 11-15-2004, 07:47 PM   #17
stiles watson
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Sreigle,
That is the way the appliance came from Kenmore. The appliance itself has the toggle built-in. Evidently Kenmore determined that simultaneous operation was not acceptable for their system.
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Old 11-16-2004, 07:43 AM   #18
sreigle
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Stiles, thanks for the reply. It seemed a bit strange to me but I guess the mfr knows best for their brand.
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Old 11-16-2004, 08:11 AM   #19
ken
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I think everyone has sortof summed it up. Some requested a 4 wheel drive and others bought trucks with it already on it. Were in the same boat with thinking about trading our truck and getting 4 wheel drive on a new one. Since we own an Mountaineer with AWD, that gets us around home when the snow comes. Most of the time were in the south in the winter time and just once on 4 years have I wished I had a 4 wheel drive. I like the milege I get on a 4 x 2. And question if i will ever use a 4x4 in the truck. As far as the washer/dryer. We thought it was a luxury until we got one. Now we wouldn't do without it. Since they are smaller, my wife washes a little more often when were on the road. I too have a switch near the washer and it doesn't do anything sugguesting that it is for the second a/c which we do not have. We have washed, use the microwave, and have the tv on at the same time without any problems.
Ken and Velda Taylor
Dahlgren VA
2003 3655FL Montana/Ford F350 Diesel
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Old 11-16-2004, 10:03 AM   #20
sreigle
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Ken, I was just looking at your profile to refresh my memory. I almost forgot you're the "powercat" guy (what happened to the team this year??? - we root for them, too, in football.). Impressive bio. And I envy you the hobby with the mustangs!
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