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Old 09-05-2012, 10:32 PM   #1
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1st RV - Used Diesel or Newer Gas?

My husband and I are excited to buy our first RV. I was raised camping with a large family and drove from California to Maine and back twice camping at KOA's in a camper truck so I'm familiar with the lifestyle. He doesn't like camping as much so the RV is a perfect solution for us. We have 3 tall teenagers (14 year boy/girl twins and a 17 year old girl) so we need to sleep 5 comfortably. We are looking at used Class A Diesels and are open to a newer Class A Gas. We live in northern California near San Francisco and will be using the RV 1 weekend per month and a couple weeks during the summer/holidays. We’d like to stay at RV parks along the California coast and maybe up into Oregon & Washington. My husband wants to spend $80-100K and get a used RV now and then get a newer coach when he retires in 5 years where we will travel all over the US on longer trips.

We’ve been researching online for months and have been to several dealers and an rv show and it is getting difficult to decide on the best coach. We really like the higher end finishes/furniture/engine/chassis in the Monaco Camelot/Windsor/Dynasty, Tiffin Allegro Bus, Winnebago Tour, American Coach Eagle, Newmar Kountry Star, and Fleetwood Discovery. We recently sat in (drooled over) a 2012 Fleetwood Discovery 40G bunk model which we loved and also like the new Palazzo. Either coach would have to be our retirement coach.

Is it easier to travel in California in a smaller coach (34-36 foot)? Since we will be part-timers for the next 5 years, should we go used older diesel or used newer gas? What CCC and engine/chassis should we look for to accommodate up to 5 adults? We need a King bed or a large queen and opposing couches or good bunk beds. We'd like tile floors, solid wood cabinets, good a/c, large shower, Spartan or Freightliner chassis, air suspension and Allison in a diesel. Aqua/Hydro hot for unlimited hot water and two sinks would be great. We would consider a newer gas coach but haven’t found the quality finishes we like. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My hubby has a bad knee and found getting into the driver’s seat in a diesel was much easier for him than a gas coach. He is willing to fix up the interior (replace old sofas and a queen with a king mattress, residential fridge). I don't want to take the depreciation hit on a new coach unless we get a great deal on a 2011/2012. What should a new 2012 Fleetwood Discovery 40g go for? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:22 AM   #2
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I'm going to suggest that you buy something with a bath and a half. Meaning two toilets.
I think buying used now and a new one when you retire is a good idea. That's what we did.

After a few years you will know what you want and what you don't want in an R.V.

The floor plan should be your most important consideration. And always remember if Momma isn't happy, nobody is happy.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:38 AM   #3
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HelloYour starting off right, doing research and asking questions.
CCC. Cargo Carrying Capacity can be a real downfall for some coaches , as every option takes away from what else you can carry. Before we bought our current unit , we were shown a fully loaded 36' coach that had only 518 lbs CCC. It had 6 seat belts ! So with a person in every seat it was overloaded. Not even a 6 pack in the fridge. In the 35>38' range a minimum of 3000lbs is what you'll need for a family of 5. I think if you look closly at that spec alone you will rule out most of the bigger gassers.Some in the 35>37' range have as little at 1400, take the kids out of that and you'd be down in the 900lb range, my wife puts more than that in the fridgeGood luck with your search , I'm sure you'll find the right unit.
We travel Calif , all the time with a 38' add 20' for the toad, no issues on any highway so far, and a lot bigger units around too.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:44 AM   #4
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Both gas or diesel have many good and bad points. Right now gas is cheaper, a couple of months ago it was the other way. Maintenance on a diesel and repairs are a lot more expensive but the ride and quietness of a pusher is really nice. Go with the floor plan and what your pocket book tells you.

Right now I have a 40foot pusher but if I were to buy I would probably go gas and miss my diesel.

Old Rvers adage, this rig drinks 6 eats 4 and sleeps 2.

Live in Santa Clara so probably not too far from you.

Don
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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Have you done test drives In both types as well as looked at them? Friends raved about the ride and comfort of a DP. Did not really believe until we drove both. Then it was my wife who said the gasser was too noisy, too rough a ride, and did not have the flat floor to the front seats. So we ended up going with a lower end DP and gave up on the fancy frills. Since you are only going to be using it part time for awhile you might take a hard look at whether fancy features are necessary.

Another consideration since you are committing to a later sale and purchase is relative depreciation. I expect you will take a much bigger hit on the newer gas than the older diesel.

As far as fuel price, in my area diesel is more expensive than the Regular gas I put in my car but about the same as Premium gas.

Jerry
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:42 AM   #6
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Gas or diesel? Easy choice, depends on how much you want to spend. Gassers are significantly cheaper to operate. Which will you have more fun in? That depends on you. We're in a park with over 100 RV's, only one is diesel, 90% are fifth wheels. But at a casino, there was only 2 gassers.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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I, too, just did the new gas/used diesel thing and ended up with new gas. It truly is an individual preference as to what's right for you.

Make a hit-list of your absolute must have's. (This really does help). If getting into the driver seat is that big a deal, that should be first on the list. Our seats do rotate in our gas rig, so that might be an option if you find a particular floor plan works for you, but diesel would definitely be easier there.

Aftermarket air beds can also be a great option if have enough floor space, especially if the kids are on the taller side.

If you're looking at anything new price-wise, what you actually would pay would be approx 20% off of the MSRP (sticker price). Some get better deals, some not as good as that, but that should at least help get you a ballpark for how much that brand new Discovery would cost.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #8
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Welcome, and good luck!!

Your first problem is gonna be trying to stuff 5 full grown people into any motorhome. They just wasn't made for it. Even the bunkhouse models were made for shorter people.

second is that it's a temporary arrangement.

When we do 5 in our knight, that's me and the missus in the back, both couches jacknifed out (one is only 5 feet long) and an army cot setup in the middle of the salon. It works, but ain't great.
An option would be a tent for the boys, but some campgrounds do not allow 2 "camping units" on one site.

Have you looked at any "super C's?
Jayco's Seneca has a bunkhouse model, a queen bed over the cab, full rear bedroom, 36' long with diesel power...
and used in your budget.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Having owned two Class A gassers and now an older Class A DP, I much prefer the DP. Much, much quieter inside, much better ride and easier to drive. My wife, 19 year old daughter and 15 year old son feel the same. The costs to operate may be slightly higher but I feel that it is well worth it. The fuel cost is offset by the fact that my gasser got 7.2 mpg and my dp has been averaging 10. Not trying to upset people with a gasser, but if you are going to be doing alot of hours on the road, my preference is the dp.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderBirds
My husband and I are excited to buy our first RV.

My husband wants to spend $80-100K and get a used RV now and then get a newer coach when he retires in 5 years where we will travel all over the US on longer trips.

We’ve been researching online for months and have been to several dealers and an rv show and it is getting difficult to decide on the best coach. We really like the higher end finishes/furniture/engine/chassis in the Monaco Camelot/Windsor/Dynasty, Tiffin Allegro Bus, Winnebago Tour, American Coach Eagle, Newmar Kountry Star, and Fleetwood Discovery. We recently sat in (drooled over) a 2012 Fleetwood Discovery 40G bunk model which we loved and also like the new Palazzo. Either coach would have to be our retirement coach.

What CCC and engine/chassis should we look for to accommodate up to 5 adults? We need a King bed or a large queen and opposing couches or good bunk beds. We'd like tile floors, solid wood cabinets, good a/c, large shower, Spartan or Freightliner chassis, air suspension and Allison in a diesel. Aqua/Hydro hot for unlimited hot water and two sinks would be great. We would consider a newer gas coach but haven’t found the quality finishes we like. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My hubby has a bad knee and found getting into the driver’s seat in a diesel was much easier for him than a gas coach.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Any advice?

1) Well..........buy the kids a tent and buy yourselves the most "serious" DP you can afford. If you buy something now as an " interim" solution, you may as well slit your wrists and get ready to bleed $$$ five years from now.. Five years before you plan to use the MH for serious travel and living is NOT a long time....get what YOU need for the future and use the next few years to work-out the bugs and get it properly set-up. Stop worrying about the kids....put them in a big tent....they will only sleep in it and will be able to use the MH for everything else. You can quite worrying about bunk beds, two bathrooms and a whole bunch of stuff you will not need for them down the road!

2) This is "just" my personal opinion, but I think the worst advice on this forum is the "buy floor plan" or the "if momma ain't happy" advice. Trust me.... Momma bear, Poppa bear & Baby bear can all love the floor plan........but if you are all "afraid" to drive in the thing because it wanders all over the road, hasn't got enough power to get out of it's own way, hasn't got enough CCC to carry your floaty toys or tow anything larger than a #2000lb smart car.....or is so poorly constructed that everything falls off in your hands & spends more time in the shop than it does on the road.......nobody's gunna be happy!

Beginning your search by .....(a) understanding "what" makes for good solid construction....(b) what is the difference between an IFS, multiple air bags, tag axles, a #12,000lb axle vrs a #14,000lb axle, etc.......so you truly understand CCC, GVWR, CGWR
and what differentiates one chassis from another....(c) learn "why" HP & Torque is important...why is a two stage exhaust brake a big deal...do you want a pre-DEF engine...why is a MH 3000 important?

I appreciate that none of this is as much fun as dreaming about marble counter-tops, solid wood cabinets and tile floors, but once you've got the right chassis, drive train & builder......funny thing....these guys also make some great floor plans.

Have fun & good luck.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:10 PM   #11
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I agree with Jack. Buy a nice tent for the kids. Somewhere in the 16-18 year old range they stop going with you anyway. Later on in the 28-30 year range they get interested again and then they can buy there own coach and bring the grandkids.

If there is any question in your mind, get a diesel. If you cave in and get a new gas coach, you will just end up trading it in a few years and take a large loss. New warranties are usually only one year and it will take a serious effort to get everything fixed.

Jack is also right about torque and pre-2007 diesel. Ask what the torque rating is on the engine (1200 ft lbs and up is good), not the HP. It's a buyers market right now, so look at every coach you can and take your time. You will learn something from every coach you look at.

Most of the models you listed are good. You may also consider renting an RV for a test trip before you invest in one.

Best of luck!
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:36 PM   #12
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Ok really a newbie here but researched for for about two years. Have a friend with gasser he 32' v-10ford he gets 9mpg.. 6 towing a mid 90;s oldsmobile. I bought a safari sahara 35'with 5.9 cummings turbo and allison 6 speed just recently went from augusta ga to hilton head sc 342 miles and averaged 14.83 MPG!!! (Wifes 2010 Tahoe get 13.9) now its mostly flat ground but got a mountain run planned next moth. Parts and routine maintenance (oil changes-air filters) and major repairs are higher but in general diesels dont break if you take care of them. Trucker buddy has a freightliner has over 650000 miles hes replaced a starter. I didnt blink when i saw mine had 92000 miles. A co-worker bought a 94 Georgia Boy with 454 chevy had 48k on it when he got it lasted to mid 50's and blew. Ordered a gm crate lasted around 40 k more and blew. Its now at his hunting club. So heres what i factored. Diesel fuel higher but MPG make up for added cost here in GA. International and Cummings are the 2 motors to look for both are reliable. My decision was based on Cummings parts are cheaper.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:42 PM   #13
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o almost forgot check out (google) the Gulf Stream CRESCENDO bunkhouse
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
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IMHO you also need to spend time better acquainting yourselves with the different manufacturers and the models they offer. Your list of what you call "higher end" models is not consistent with the markets those models compete in. Without insulting anyone, the Fleetwood Discovery is not at the same price point as an American Eagle. Nor does the Newmar Kountry Star compete against a Monaco Dynasty. The fit and finish of the models you list vary enormously; you may be able to afford an older Dynasty or a new Discovery. Once you understand where these models are positioned in the marketplace you will be better able to make this tradeoff.
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