Tug for 1987 Bigfoot Fifth Wheel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-27-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot Fifth Wheel
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Tug for 1987 Bigfoot Fifth Wheel

Hi Everyone,

On Christmas, Ginny & I became the happy owners of Linda & Jimís 1987 20í Bigfoot Fifth Wheel. (My first post is in the Introductions forum.)

Iíll pick up my new baby in Oregon in early February, beginning a six-week journey back to Houston. I plan to stop en route for RV Driver Training classes and then the RV Boot Camp at Escapade.

But how do I get it home? As Donna D posted, ďGet the camper, then choose the tugĒ (my words; her wisdom). I've taken care of Part 1; how do I decide which truck is right for us? (Despite being Texans, we've never owned such a thing.)

After multiple outings to look at trucks and researching prices, ratings, and Consumer Reports, Iím bug-eyed! Can you spell ďanalysis peristalsisĒ?

I highly value the new safety features that are appearing on vehicles: backup cameras, lane departure alarms, adaptive cruise control, remote tire pressure readings, and many more. A few can be gotten after market, but only a few. The more advanced features only seem to be available on the 2015 F150 and the 2015 Colorado/Canyon. Iím not wise in things trucky, but I suspect these two are game changers and will transform the light truck category.

But I need a truck by the end of January and the Colorado/Canyon didn't strike my fancy. It's a small truck that drives like a big truck. The salesman couldn't believe that I thought that was bad. He's young, I'm old; maybe it's a testosterone thing.

This morning, Ginny went out with me to test drive trucks. We've narrowed our list down to a used 2011 Ford F150 and a new Nissan Frontier. Note to Self: What's the BF's hitch clearance requirements for level towing? I can't afford to have the trailer raised if my tug is too high. Second Note to Self: Send a note to Linda to find out.

As a TV, I like the F150 better because it's bigger, heavier, has a much higher payload and is simply a lot more truck. I think more reserve power, more breaking, etc. translates to more security to a new driver. But, I'm not happy driving it when not towing.

Ginny is leaning toward the Frontier because it's smaller, more agile, and she thinks the 1,400+ lb payload is adequate for our needs. She wants a vehicle that's more usable when not towing.

The trucks are so different that it seems like a lifestyle choice.

The F150 has none of my desired safety features, but is much cheaper. The Frontier has only a few of these features and is more expensive. In the end, the F150 may win as a ďstarter truckĒ. Trading in a six-year old F150 seems easier on the wallet than a two-year old Frontier.

What are your thoughts?

Rich
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:03 PM   #2
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Buy a measuring tape

The BigFoot (I'm waiting for a tandem axle with winter kit to come available) 5th wheel was designed decades before truck designers decided that bedrails should be placed at eye level. We've enjoyed a Scamp 19 for the past four years, but even with a 4" lift under the trailer, bed rail clearance on most 1/2 ton pickups is still too high for my comfort level. We like to boondock and I would like to keep at least 8 inches clearance but would have to settle for 6 inches or less with any new half ton. I'm waiting to see the 2016 Canyon with the mini Duramax diesel, but could end up going with another Tacoma when I replace the one I have.

My thought would be to find out what the height of the bottom of the BF doghouse is when trailer is sitting level, and then figure out your truck options based on bed rail height. (I'm betting you'll be doing an axle flip in the near future to raise the trailer.)

BTW, congrats on the Big Foot purchase. You're going to love it!
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:18 PM   #3
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BF is a pretty heavy trailer, you need some spare power on mountain roads. I'd go with f150.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:38 PM   #4
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The BF definitely looks like it was built pretty low to the ground.

Is an axle flip something you do to existing axle, or does it mean replacing the axle?


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Old 12-27-2014, 06:00 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum! The Bigfoot is an excellent choice. What was the previous owner using as a tow vehicle ?


Flipping the axle usually means taking the axle and moving it from above the leaf springs to below the springs. Most likely you can use the original axle. It requires some minor welding, some new axle perches, and should not be really expensive.
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:11 PM   #6
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My vote is for a 2015 Ford F150, my local Ford dealer has them on the lot already. Or you can build and price them on the Ford website. Order it the way you want now and pick it up before you head out and put your break-in miles on as you drive out there.
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:33 PM   #7
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Thanks for the explanation. Linda & Jim, the POs who still have the BF, are very helpful and knowledgable and will know if an axle flip is needed. They plan to tow the BF to the trailer shop when I get my hitch installed. Linda wants to have the bearings repacked before I take possession (thank you!). If an axle flip is advised, I'm guessing that should be done before the hitch install. They could do it at the same time.

A hitch is coming with the BF, but I've been looking at the Andersen Ultimate Hitch. I really like its low weight and easy removal.

Another plus for the F150 would be a LOT easier hitch installation!

Although many people use Frontiers to haul fifth wheels, Nissan says it's not approved for that. I know they're thinking of those stick-built behemoths, but it's still in their trailering guidelines.


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Old 12-27-2014, 06:41 PM   #8
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Rick, I hear you on the 2015 F150, unfortunately the salesman said 45days or more to get an ordered truck.

I can look for one that's already built, but there are zero incentives on the 2015. Great deals are easy to get on the 2014. This makes the 15's very spendy!

Well Dang!


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Old 12-27-2014, 06:48 PM   #9
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I am sure you can work with the dealer, as many have been built already and one can be brought in from another dealer. Yes they are giving the 2014's at a great price because no one will want one once the 2015's hit the market in full swing. I have been told the 2015's are much better then any older model and the older ones were GREAT trucks to start with. You only live once and you cant take your money with you. I would get the 2015 the way you want it and be done with truck buying for many years to come. Just my 2 cents worth.

When I bought my 2013 Ford Escape SE 2.0 Ecoboost 4WD, I factory ordered it the way I wanted it.

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Rick, I hear you on the 2015 F150, unfortunately the salesman said 45days or more to get an ordered truck.

I can look for one that's already built, but there are zero incentives on the 2015. Great deals are easy to get on the 2014. This makes the 15's very spendy!

Well Dang!


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Old 12-27-2014, 07:20 PM   #10
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Good news on the BF height. The axle has already been flipped and the trailer raised so it could be towed with a late model GMC. I should be good to go!

I'll think over suggestion on then 2015. I'd love to have it, but it's a bunch of money!


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Old 12-27-2014, 07:27 PM   #11
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If the axle has been flipped and you still need more height you can go with larger tires and wheels as a next step.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:18 AM   #12
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Start reading reviews on used trucks and it will drive you nuts as it did me. I had limited time to look before heading south for the winter so that increased the stress. The Fords with the 5.7 engine supposedly were noted for blowing spark plugs out of the head. The same size GM engines with the cylinder cut out feature supposedly had excess oil consumption that was blamed on that feature and GM wouldn't admit to it. At the last minute I found a real low mileage 2012 Dodge 1500 with the 5.7 Hemi engine so bought it. I wanted a Ford with the turbo charged V6 but couldn't find one. Real tough to find a used low mileage truck.
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:19 PM   #13
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I have a 2001 F150 and love it for towing. Did not have a tow package, factory or otherwise, and was simple and easy to install not only the hitch, but a 7 pin connector. If I had 60 grand, I know exactly what F150 I would buy!

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Old 12-28-2014, 02:37 PM   #14
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60 grands is an overkill :-) I bought 2013 F150 XLT Supercrew v8 5.0L with 22K miles for $24800. Added hitch receiver (bumper hitch ball is too hight for Scamp), brake controller, 7-pin connector and wiring for about $300 total.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
60 grands is an overkill :-) I bought 2013 F150 XLT Supercrew v8 5.0L with 22K miles for $24800. Added hitch receiver (bumper hitch ball is too hight for Scamp), brake controller, 7-pin connector and wiring for about $300 total.
You can always find a deal, even on one you order. My F150 cost me 5 grand and I love it. 60 grand would buy me the F150 I dream about, that's all. I priced one out a while back.

I could always find a deal, and still do! Though I doubt there's a new truck in my future, what future there is left to me anyways!

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Old 12-28-2014, 05:33 PM   #16
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I love, love, love my 2014 Ford F-150 w/Ecoboost. As someone mentioned, they come with a "mortgage."
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:17 PM   #17
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I tow a Bigfoot 21RB with a 2007 Toyota Tundra with a 5.7V8. I owned a Bigfoot TW20 5th wheel some years back and pulled it with a 2005 Tundra Double Cab with a 4.7V8. It had plenty of power towing.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:38 AM   #18
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Some of the newer trucks have side mirrors that can be extended outward. Because of the width of a Bigfoot (8 foot plus) this would be a real advantage. I tow with a Toyota Tacoma and have to strap on additional mirrors to see behind the trailer.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:29 AM   #19
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I can see the benefit of not having to bother with strap-on extended mirrors. Unfortunately, I don't think Ginny will buy, "I need a 2015 so I can have extended mirrors!" Ha!

When looking at Ford's "Build your 2015 F150" there appears to be an incompatibility between their blind spot alert system (BLIS?) and towing mirrors. I'm guessing that BLIS needs a sensor in the mirror. If I were ordering my dream truck, it would have BLIS.

I hoped to use a rear view camera on the trailer rather than strap-on mirrors. Do you think this is a bad idea?


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Old 12-29-2014, 11:02 PM   #20
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I hoped to use a rear view camera on the trailer rather than strap-on mirrors. Do you think this is a bad idea?


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Bad idea Rich. Learn to use your mirrors as truckers have been using for millions of miles. A camera at the rear of your trailer will only show you what's behind you, not what's at your 3/4 side blind spots or if you have room to merge. It's pretty easy to learn. Using the shadow of your rig on the ground for a reference to a vehicle you're passing for clearence is one trick. Move into the lane you need long before it comes up ( my wife hates when I do that but old trucker habits die hard). Worse case, if your not sure, stay where your at until it's clear.
A rear view camera has its place but not as a replacement for mirrors. One loose wire, no picture...........
Don't over think it Rich, just some common sence, good old mirrors and some practice and you'll be fine.
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