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Old 09-20-2021, 08:19 AM   #1
ElJeffe
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First 5th Wheel - 23MLS

Finally...been RVing for long time. Started with Popup, then hybrid, then back to a popup (we like to dry camp in Colorado). Now a new 2021 23MLS. Tow vehicle is slightly used 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD. Installed a B&W hitch. Plan to hit the road for several weeks at a time.

I love this "short" 5th Wheel. I'd make 1 tiny design change if it was me...but alas, like all campers can't get everything. This is our first Diesel and 5th Wheel!...so lots of learning.

I'm working on now is upgrading batteries and adding an inverter myself. The cost from dealer was simply too high. Looking at adding 4x100Ah batteries, 2000 watt inverter, etc...someday will add Solar. So glad they added the inverter pre-wiring. I haven't figured out the solar pre-wiring. I'll be posting some chats about these.

Next up...need to find the right boat to tow behind it! Overall length now (~43 feet) we should be able to tow just about any ~17ft bass boat and stay on the 65 foot limit and easy weight limits, even at altitude. Anyone with experience tandem towing? 5th wheel is pre-rigged for it. (and if boat is black it will all match ;-)
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:35 AM   #2
B-O-B'03
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Nice looking rig, congrats.

-Brian
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:49 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum from W TX. Lots of great camping in CO.

Was that you doing the "donut" burnout there with your new rig??
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:03 AM   #4
ElJeffe
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Welcome to the forum from W TX. Lots of great camping in CO.

Was that you doing the "donut" burnout there with your new rig??
Ha...no. Probably one of my neighbors! ;-)
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ElJeffe View Post

I'm working on now is upgrading batteries and adding an inverter myself. The cost from dealer was simply too high. Looking at adding 4x100Ah batteries, 2000 watt inverter, etc...someday will add Solar. So glad they added the inverter pre-wiring. I haven't figured out the solar pre-wiring. I'll be posting some chats about these.

Welcome! and congrats on the upgrade, once you tow a 5th wheel you'll never go back to the bumper



Inverter without Solar is like a cake without frosting. You would be amazed at how fast you can drain 400amp hrs w/o solar. I'd also suggest looking into going with two 6v instead of 4 12v batteries. You'll get more amp hrs and better lifecycle for off grid use.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:09 AM   #6
ElJeffe
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Welcome! and congrats on the upgrade, once you tow a 5th wheel you'll never go back to the bumper



Inverter without Solar is like a cake without frosting. You would be amazed at how fast you can drain 400amp hrs w/o solar. I'd also suggest looking into going with two 6v instead of 4 12v batteries. You'll get more amp hrs and better lifecycle for off grid use.
I'm already surprised compared to my TT & Popup. Have 2x105Ah AGM on popup, and can run for days dry camping. The new 23MLS has single lead-acid tiny battery. And "12v ONLY" refrigerator...no option for AC or gas. So, I think its killing battery pretty fast. (We kept the popup for off-road dispersed mountain camping).

5th wheel is for more road trips. The idea behind 4x100ah was to give us power on road while moving between campsites with power. I'll look into 6v vs 12v again...but everything I've seen its the same AH either way. I'll likely have generator and solar eventually, as we much prefer boondocking. Generator for A/C when needed. One system at a time!

Just dug into the thing yesterday and today, and realized I was given miss information by multiple Keystone Service people and sales. The converter charger needs to be replaced for Lithium. There is no way to switch the voltage for lithium...errrrrr.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:27 AM   #7
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The most economical way to go for longer battery life is by using two flooded cell 6 v golf cart batteries wired in series. Cost is <$100 each and the converter and the towing vehicle's alternator will charge them just fine.
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:49 PM   #8
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Old 09-21-2021, 03:31 AM   #9
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:50 PM   #10
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I upgraded from just under 200ah of lead acid to 400 ah of lithium a few years back. Lithium is far superior to lead acid. Definitely more costly in the short run, but out performs lead acid in every way. For lots of boondocking I think lithium is the way to go.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:24 PM   #11
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Welcome and Congrats on the new 5er. We looked at that floor plan earlier this season but couldn't justify the $$$. Nice combo with your 2500.
Just my 2 cents worth, but I'd suggest 2, 6vdc batteries and spend a few more dollars on a 200w solar. You can add more batteries and solar as time and finances allow if you find you need to. You might also think about the size of the inverter. Lots of overhead in a 2k if you don't really need to run the microwave or a/c.
We boondock and dry camp over half our camping days and find the solar will keep the batteries (2-6vdc) topped off nicely. We just got back from 5 days in Grand Teton. Nights were in the 20's but we did have sunny days and we never took the generator out of the truck
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:59 PM   #12
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Welcome from just up the roads in Fort Collins
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:48 AM   #13
Mikelff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElJeffe View Post
Finally...been RVing for long time. Started with Popup, then hybrid, then back to a popup (we like to dry camp in Colorado). Now a new 2021 23MLS. Tow vehicle is slightly used 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD. Installed a B&W hitch. Plan to hit the road for several weeks at a time.

I love this "short" 5th Wheel. I'd make 1 tiny design change if it was me...but alas, like all campers can't get everything. This is our first Diesel and 5th Wheel!...so lots of learning.

I'm working on now is upgrading batteries and adding an inverter myself. The cost from dealer was simply too high. Looking at adding 4x100Ah batteries, 2000 watt inverter, etc...someday will add Solar. So glad they added the inverter pre-wiring. I haven't figured out the solar pre-wiring. I'll be posting some chats about these.

Next up...need to find the right boat to tow behind it! Overall length now (~43 feet) we should be able to tow just about any ~17ft bass boat and stay on the 65 foot limit and easy weight limits, even at altitude. Anyone with experience tandem towing? 5th wheel is pre-rigged for it. (and if boat is black it will all match ;-)
Like others have mentioned, I would look at 6 volt golf cart batteries. Way more amp hours. You can probably get 400+ amp hour out of two 6 volt batteries. Remember, you should not discharge more than 50% of the rating, so 4 100 ah 12 volt batteries will only give you 200 ah of usable power. Happy camping!
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:44 AM   #14
TNordine
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Like others have mentioned, I would look at 6 volt golf cart batteries. Way more amp hours. You can probably get 400+ amp hour out of two 6 volt batteries. Remember, you should not discharge more than 50% of the rating, so 4 100 ah 12 volt batteries will only give you 200 ah of usable power. Happy camping!
There is a lot of confusion in batteries, especially when putting them in series or parallel.
If you take two 120amp hrs 6 volt batteries in series to make 12volts you don't double the amp hours. You still only have 120ah.
You can either double the voltage(series) or double the amp hrs ( parralel) not both.
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Old 10-03-2021, 12:18 PM   #15
P&DZ
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Following the advice from members of this forum I replaced our two 12v batteries with two GC2 6 Volt Duracell 230ah batteries just over a year ago. We do quite a bit of dry camping. With a 100w solar panel a bit of sun, and some power conservation we can dry camp nearly indefinitely. I no longer worry about not having adequate battery power. However adequate fresh, grey and black water tank capacity is a different issue.
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Old 10-03-2021, 05:42 PM   #16
TNordine
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We came real close to buying the 23MLS. We really liked the small size. We ended up with the 24RDS instead. Just another 20 inches longer.
Good luck with your new toy, we have liked ours so far!
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:20 AM   #17
MarvnMabel
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23 MLS not OTG?

Had the 2020 24RES, one model above for all the same reasons as you, but yours should have come preinstalled with 170 W of solar and an inverter already. They were rolled out of the factory in that config. Wonder why yours wasn't?
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