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Old 03-19-2010, 03:21 PM   #1
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From fiver to motorhome: Steer me


We’ve been camping in fivers for the past seven years—a Jayco 37’ Designer and a Landmark 39’, both towed with late-model GMC Sierra 2500HDs. Now we’re at the cusp of a big switch—from fiver to motorhome. We’re excited about the idea of being IN the rig instead of in a truck in front of it. We are ordering a 2010 Allegro Bus 43 QGP and plan to tow a Jeep Rubicon 4-door behind with Air Force One brake system.

WHAT WILL THE TRANSITION BE LIKE? So far, I’ve logged about 25 minutes (accident-free!) in three different Tiffin coaches and love the feel of a coach.

I’m sure we will have no problem adjusting to the conveniences of this incredible machine. It will be nice not to have to tote 40 lb propane tanks or even find propane (going all-electric). I don’t think I will have to worry about watching weight balance so much. I’m a bit concerned about how much less gray water capacity the coach has vs. the fiver (two 45 gal grays in the fiver, one 56 gal in the Bus). We boondock a good bit.

But what about on the highway? I can hardly feel a 20 mph crosswind with the fiver; even stronger winds barely affect driving. Will I feel crosswinds with the tag axle 43’ Allegro? Will I have to constantly turn into it? How about crown on the road? Does it pull?

What about grades? Around Tennessee, we don’t have long grades like out west, but we run steep. An 8% grade of a mile or two is not uncommon. I can do an 8% at 40 mph with my GMC Sierra and 39’ Landmark. What will I experience with the Bus? I am getting the new 450 hp engine and towing a 4700 lb Jeep.

And how about in town? The first rule with a trailer is swing wide. That must be the same for the coach? I like the incredible panorama of the Allegro. I feel like I’m driving the end of a pier. But it’s a big machine and the mirrors are high. Can I see a small car tucked in alongside?

Do you have any suggestions for driving that I’m overlooking? Any quirks? Really stupid things that a fiver driver doesn't know about a coach? My wife and I are looking forward to this new experience—it is exciting. But I sure don’t want to break the thing for lack of understanding. Throw me your suggestions, cautions, real-world experiences.

Thanks everyone!

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Old 03-19-2010, 03:35 PM   #2
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Be aware of the tail swing on the 43 footer. You made a great choice and I'm so jealous. You'll do just fine and those little hills won't bother that 450hp. Safe travels and let us know when you take delivery so we (I) can come slobber.

Jim with Judy
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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Tiffin: 2010 Allegro Bus 43 QGP and plan to tow a Jeep Rubicon 4-door behind with Air Force One brake system. Nice

Tiffins are getting a lot of good reviews.

Motorhomes do not have a camper feel like a TT or 5ver. There is definitely a difference in the way you feel when traveling and living. Motohomes generally have more storage. There are as you know many pro's and con's to each. Motorhomes appear to be more for on-the-go, quick to move out, etc. Whereas, 5vers I see more just sitting and sitting. I didn't buy a motorhome to sit and it's always begging to get going

I do not feel as worn out and tired after a traveling in the MH as much as riding in the front of a truck. Hmmm,,,, I can pull over and very easily get a nap..

We like the BIG view when traveling

I don't feel like I'm hauling a lug around, we are in the lug
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:45 PM   #4
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Hello Rick,
My family and I are new at this last fall we purchased a Newmar Mountain Aire 43' with a tag 400 Cummins we tow a Ford Explorer w/ M&G Air brake Blue Ox Tow Bar. The tag really helps with the wind. I think you will hardly notice your towing anything? You do have to swing wide. Scott
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:45 PM   #5
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You'll soon find you make the best choice possible in going with a tag axle coach.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:07 PM   #6
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Dewd... Get the biggest, baddest thing you can afford..

Oh Wait!!! You did

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Old 03-19-2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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Rick, For the blind spots, your side mirrors should have the smaller mirror with the panoramic view to eliminate the blind spots. Good luck and be careful. John H...
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:34 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! I really do appreciate your encouraging words.

Jim, you got me curious when you mentioned tail swing so I checked my Landmark fiver. It measures 15 feet from the center of the axles to the rear bumper. I scaled a couple of images of the 43, and it doesn’t look like it projects that much. I really have to watch tail swing on the fiver. I hate to back into an offside spot—always prefer to back left. I’ve never bunged the back end, but I usually get out and look a couple of times and my wife watches too. It will be a spooky thing backing the Bus until I get the feel of it.

Batman, I have to agree that fivers do seem to sit in campgrounds more, but my wife and I like to run long hauls. Problem is that after 350-400 miles, I am ready to get out of the truck. And it is a very comfortable truck. There’s just no room to change position. Looks like a lot more freedom in a MH. My wife fell over laughing at your last comment.

Scott, becks, several people have commented on the tag axle helping with wind. The few minutes I had a chance to drive one it was in a 20 mph crosswind and I really didn’t feel it, but I wasn’t on the highway. Glad to hear that it really improves response. The extra length doesn’t bother me, but I’m spoiled to the solid handling of a fiver. I’ve watched tagalongs—regular campers—blow all over the road. Wasn’t sure about MHs. Oh, and I came THIS close to getting a Mountain Aire like yours. Just couldn’t agree on price. But what a gorgeous rig. For me, it’s an easy drive from Tennessee to Red Bay, Alabama, and we are really impressed with the Tiffin family and service.

John, thanks for the note on the mirrors. They’re built into my GMC and I use them more than the flat ones. Now that you mention it, I guess they must be on the Bus also, but haven’t really paid attention.

It will be late June before we get the Bus. Right now, I'm just driving the brochure and it's driving me crazy.
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:30 PM   #9
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Regardless of what the literature says, I think you'll find that you actually have a 70 gallon grey water tank. Enjoy that Bus!.
Travel well, travel safe,
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:55 PM   #10
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You can't steer the 5er without a truck, you don't need the truck to steer the MH.

Just trying to STEER you in the right direction....
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Batman_777 View Post
Dewd... Get the biggest, baddest thing you can afford..

Oh Wait!!! You did

what he said
my only regret is loss of upper cabinets space for the kitchen....
HOWEVER the HUGE basement storage made up for it.

plus.........i like the neat feature, that lets DW go fetch me a snack whilst tooling down the road, you know, since you were up, grab me a sandwich,
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:25 PM   #12
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Jim & BJ: That's some good news on the tank size. I wonder if they are displaying the useable volume. 56/70 works out to be 80%. No matter, that will help. Our longest dry camping is at the Oshkosh EAA airshow--about 5 days. And we can get a pumpout when we need it. Fresh water capacity is no problem. I'll just switch to beer and soft drinks.

Joe and Marcia: Aaaarrrrgggg! It will be nice to steer from up above the fog banks though. Man! What a view! Just can't imagine crossing the country like that. We've done some long loops with the fiver, but boy, that truck gets cramped after a while.

Powerboatr: I really like your sandwich idea! We do some powerboating, but probably on a much smaller scale than you. We tote a 10' SeaEagle inflatable, floorboards, tank and 8hp Tohatsu. I've milled the head on the Tohatsu, bored the carb, larger jets, advanced the spark. It's kicking out about 14-15 hp (but still only 60 lb) and scoots us along about 20mph--enough to enjoy a maverick lake that might show up from time to time. We camp a lot with our kids and grandkids and they always have an abundance of jet skis and other boating equipment, so we've got to keep up with them.
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:24 PM   #13
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Rick Congrats on the move up!

I just got a new 43 QGP first of the year and watched the whole build,so far so good. I would suggest to have them add an extra 110 plug at the right end of the master bath vanity, otherwise the rear bath only has one outlet. I also had them install the Dirt Devil vac instead of the standard system.
If you have time go and watch as much build as you can very nice to see what is where while you can still see it.
Good Luck!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:53 AM   #14
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In regards to the tail swing mentioned previously. I have a 07 42QRP and the distance from my tag axle wheels to the back of the coach is approx. seven feet. There really isn't a tail swing when turning. The non tag chassis and alot of the gas class A's have a large overhang which relates to a tail swing problem. The key thing to remember is how you set yourself up for making the turns. Especially when towing a vehicle. The towed vehicle will have a tendency to swing out further than the coach will. Someone told me what they do on right turn setups is to make the turn after your hip is out and inline with the lane you are going to turn into.
Good Luck! May all your travels be "HAPPY ONE'S"!

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