I've been quietly on the site for about a year and my wife Deanne and I really benefitted from reading through the boards as we started renovating our orange 76 Boler
named "Cheezy". Now we're almost done and we're thinking about selling Cheezy to buy our "get-us-to-retirement" trailer, which we've discovered is a Bigfoot
TF-20 5th wheel.
We toured the inside of a 5er for the first time last weekend and loved the layout and the light
(it was an '87 with a galley kitchen and full banquet), but the trailer itself had a lot of water damage so we didn't take it. I'm hoping someone might be able to point me to information on the changes that occurred over the 5ers decade-ish long production run (~84-94?). So far I haven't found any summaries on the web. Alternately, maybe people with 5ers could share the year and features their trailers have? If we get enough responses, I can edit it down to a convenient summary for everyone.
This is what I've been able to gather from some initial searching, but please feel free to correct me because I'm doing a lot of guesswork:
It seems as though there are dual and single axel versions in most years (?).
The kitchen can be galley style or have an L-shaped configuration throughout the run.
The rear seating area can be a full-width banquet, a narrow banquet with a storage cabinet and exterior access (like current 25RQs), or a set of captain's chairs with a couch (or in some cases a cabinet?). My guess is that the narrow banquet/storage cabinet option that I like is a late development, but I'm not sure if the other options are limited to specific years.
At the front, the main differences seem to be whether the wardrobe is against the exterior wall, with the stairs leading to the middle of the bunk, versus stairs right against the wall leading to the foot of the bed. From a few comments I've read, this might depend less on the year of production than on whether the trailer is a single or double axel and has an interior step at the door?
The bathrooms seem to have some minor variations - some have an under sink cabinet door while others have a screwed on access panel, some have molded fiberglass sinks versus a drop in porcelain sink, and at least one picture seems to show a narrow partition wall between the shower area and the sink. I have no idea if or when any of this changes across the production run.
A photo of a '94 shows a flat topped storage cabinet in the bunk area rather than the angled configuration that seems typical during the 80s, but I'm not sure when that change occurred.
I also get the impression that right around 1990, the fridges got larger and used separate fridge and freezer doors. Wall treatments also seemed to go from floor-to-ceiling wood panels in the '80s to vinyl uppers and wooden panel wainscotting sometime in the 90s.
We're still in the early stages of getting to know the TF-20s, so thank you in advance for any help you can provide. When it comes time to buy one, I suspect we'll be more focused on a trailer's overall condition rather than specific features, but it would be nice to get a sense of when specific changes occurred.
Based on what I've seen so far, I think our preference is leaning toward a 90s era dual axel (so, one with the larger fridge), a galley kitchen, and maybe the narrower banquet option (although Deanne likes a full banquet...and she usually wins). TF-20s with this configuration seems available in '94, but I don't know if many were made or if similar trailers were built in earlier production years.