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Old 01-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
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3 years out: targeted MHs to help set budget

And I think there are questions somewhere in my head, but won't know until this gets typed

Right now just trying to get a feel for what we will want so can put the money aside over the next few years. The one's I'm thinking about so far feel about right for how much to spend and getting the kind of style the DW is expecting. She will go look at the ones I've decided are okay (I are an engineer and she respects that) and make the final decision. But we both have some floor plan ideas we like as you can see by the list below. Just bought and remodeled our B&M home from scratch so know each others tastes really well from that experience. Will have to do some renting, some driving, and visit the factories (like to decide on quality issues myselft, it's my day job) and more research over the next couple years.

So guess first question: given we like a more formal type style, any brands missing from the list?

The List right now (2013 models except Monaco):
Newmar Mtn Aire 4319
American Tradition 42G
Monaco Dynasty (2014) 44 RFT
Tiffin Allegro Bus 45 LP
Entegra Anthem 42 DEQ

Second question: 3 have a full wall side slide and it seems like the engineeering has mostly been worked out for that now after reading lots of threads. Agree? or are some still a bit iffy on the engineering side? Anyone can mess up quality, but seems like shouldn't worry about whether they are fine if done right.

Third question: Only Newmar posts their approximate UVW. Can anyone share rough UVW for the other makes/models? Good margins for CCC/NCC/OCCC part of what I'd consider good engineering quality, so trying to get ideas now whether to keep each on the list.

Couple of model/brand specific questions: American seems to let the awnings go beyond 102" width based on their footnotes which read is not legal in some states. True? Same for a 22k# rear axle on the Allegro?

Not willing to ask if we're nuts.....might not like that answer

Might have to slow down soon....too much fun thinking about a future MH and reading iRV2 forums given years to wait. (Not enough time to use one until retirment )

Not sure we're open to going a lot smaller or simpler (lower budget) nor into things which seem a bit more fancy for part timers (higher budget) and I'm not telling the DW anything about Newell so she doesn't see any used units there just to be safe

Oh, one last thought. If any of you other research nerds are considering the same basic coaches over the next few years would love to chat separately and compare notes as we learn.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:58 PM   #2
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Trying to get your first RV and get everything right the first time...that will take more than research.
4 , 5th wheels and now a coach , DW and I are close but still haven't got it all .
A couple of thinks I will throw out for you.
1 Reject any floor plan that will not allow fridge access with the slides in.
2 Spend time alone ; you and your wife; kick the salesman out, and move around in any coach you consider, a good 1/2 hour take notes and pictures. Sit in every seat , crawl into every compartment, pretend your looking for something you've lost, pull out drawers; all the way and look in behind them , quality and careful construction will become evident the deeper you look.
Good Luck, I do hope you find your perfect coach.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:11 AM   #3
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Think about how you plan to use it too. If you will be traveling a lot, the usability of the coach while traveling, i.e. slides in and using the bathroom, fixing lunch, etc. will be much more important than if you are mostly seasonal camping. Who will travel with you also plays a role in that same discussion. The more slides, the less access while driving, not a bad thing, just something to consider.

Oh, and have fun with the search. Not sure if anyone, even engineers, get it just right the first time but I wish you great luck and fun in getting it as close to perfect for you as possible.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:40 AM   #4
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UVW numbers are one of the useless numbers dealers and manufacturers like to put out there. They have little to do with the real world. If you can dind it, what is the delivered weight and the GVWR. Those are the important numbers.
I see your stuck on a MH. While that is not necessairly a bad thing, it is leaving out roughly 3/4 of the RV segiment from your shopping list. If your plans are to be driving/moving a lot, then a MH is a good, but expensive option. But if like many people your plans call for you sitting in one spot for weeks or months at a time, they could be a bad option. Remember, with a MH you have two drive trains to maintain, heck even a set of tires could set you back close to 5,000 dollars. That is a big chunk of a yearly budget. Add in oil changes at a truck center a couple of times a year and fuel at 6-8 MPG and the costs add up really fast. There are other less costly options including fifth wheels, travel trailers, and truck campers that people have and use full time with great success.
You also should decide what types of places you want to park. Resort types of places can cost you up to a hundred dollars a night. Vs places like government parks where the fees are closer to 20-30 dollars a day. Again another big hit on the yearly budget.
Personally i applaud your starting three years out, but remember things can change rather fast so you need to be flexibile. You also need to first decide on a monthly budget, then do a spread sheet plugging in average daily park costs based on your preferences, food fuel, insurance, medical, internet, TV etc etc etc. once you have those numbers you can see what your plans will cost you per month/year. Also remember any RV you buy is a depreciating asset. Just like a car it will be worth far less each day you own it. And the more it costs to purchase the faster it depreciates, and the harder to resell In The future.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:56 AM   #5
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We we're in the same boat as you. Spent just about two years trying to figure out which MH we would be comfortable in. Every one we researched had something we liked, but none had everything we wanted. We realized we'd have to make compromises. We kept going back and forth over the issue of buying new or used. In 2010 we decided to purchase a 2000 Dutch Star Diesel Pusher, with the idea of buying new later. Well here we are in 2013 and we still have our Dutch Star. We've been full timing since we bought it and have been from Maine to Fl., east coast to throughout the west. After spending last winter in Az. we went to Alaska for the entire summer, and are now wintering in Florida. Whenever the subject comes up of buying another coach we look at each other and say...Nah! We're very comfortable in our home and will keep it for the duration. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Others I'm sure will have a different opinion, but it has certainly worked for us.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:49 AM   #6
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You have developed a pretty comprehensive list and I think all of the candidates you have identified are potentially excellent choices. I might add the Winnebago Tour 42' or equal Itasca to the group.

There should be a weight sheet posted in any coach giving the GVWR, GAWR, CVWR, and the CCC or NCC of a representative coach. The weight limitation on the rear of the coach has always been governed by the federal bridge weight limit. Tag axle coaches are allowed 34k on the combined rear axles. The limit for a single rear axle coach has just been changed from 20k to 23k which effectively legalizes the coaches which were built with 22-23k drive axles. The defacto standard among coach builders for width has always been 102" excluding safety equipment. Monaco builds to a coach width of 100.5" which gives a little more room but I suspect most coaches are somewhat out of compliance in width. For what it's worth, in 6 years of full timing and reading forum posts daily, the only instances of an RV being weighed or measured were in CA and it was 5th wheels being towed by a vehicle not rated to pull the weight or total vehicle length. Your real world issue with width will occur going through some toll booths.

We went through the exercise you have embarked on a number of years ago. After much research, we purchased a 3 year old coach in the spring on '06. We moved into it the following spring and have lived in it since. It stretched the top of our range a bit but we remain extremely happy with it. Eighteen months ago we did an interior remodel with new flooring, new sofa bed, credenza with fireplace and a residential frig. We now feel like we are in a new coach for about 1/2 the cost of one year of depreciation.

Do your research, test drive all the coaches you can and, as has been suggested, spend time in floor plans. Knowledge is power.

This is a fun process so enjoy yourself.

Safe travels,
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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There is not much to add to what has been posted.
1. You need to know the real weight being put on each axle and compare it to the GAWR. This will provide how much you have left for water, propane, your stuff and people. The coach should tow what you want to tow and not exceed the GCWR (and hitch rating).

2. Don't over organize the hunting process. I admire you for having a spouse that respects your engineering skills. However, when push comes to shove, what sells a coach is the floor plan. Guess who makes the floor plan decision, usually for reasons that can not be explained.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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Go to rv.org. Pay what they're asking and read it all. Then decided what kind of coach you want. oodle.com is a good place to plug in what you're looking for and it will send you daily updates. Sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things early. keep it up good luck and happy hunting
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by pumper9x9
Go to rv.org. Pay what they're asking and read it all. Then decided what kind of coach you want. oodle.com is a good place to plug in what you're looking for and it will send you daily updates. Sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things early. keep it up good luck and happy hunting
I'm not knocking RV.org. When we were shopping for our full timing coach we read their reports. By aware, however, they don't actually drive, test or even see any of the coaches they rate. Their ratings are derived from data gleaned from manufacturer brochures and other printed and electronic media. Just don't get totally hundred up with their ratings. View them as just one of many sources of information.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:34 PM   #10
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However, when push comes to shove, what sells a coach is the floor plan. Guess who makes the floor plan decision, usually for reasons that can not be explained.
Good point!
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:14 PM   #11
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spacemission - What kind of coach do you have now? How many years have you been camping in a class A? I assume you must have a class A now and are moving up. I assume this as you are talking about buying a large expensive motor home new. Before doing that you want to make sure it is a good decision you you and your family.

All of those models you have picked are good motor homes. Go test drive a bunch of them to find out which you like the best. I do agree that the RVCG sells very good information on motor homes. They have detailed information on indivicual models for each maker.

Be sure you go slow when shopping. If you do not have long experience with RVing you might consider buying a used coach to give it a try before blowing a ton of money. We rented for many many years before buying our first one. Some of our most memorable trips were in rented coaches.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:50 PM   #12
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spacemission - What kind of coach do you have now? How many years have you been camping in a class A? I assume you must have a class A now and are moving up. I assume this as you are talking about buying a large expensive motor home new. Before doing that you want to make sure it is a good decision you you and your family.
Why would you assume that? We made the decision to go full-time before we retired, and had never owned an RV of any kind before.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:36 PM   #13
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What to say? While my dad was a full timer in a 40ft Bounder my DW and I never graduated beyond our Eurovan camper. But we're headed to that lifestyle addition in a few years (rving but not not full time, reverse snowbirds) and for now just figuring a top line budget so I save enough and getting smart in the meantime on what coach brands to have her pick a model she likes from.

I think will add the rv.org insights but sure wish someone published as built out of the factories weight numbers by axle and tire. By taking measurements of course, since not much published by the makers. But am enjoying the challenge of reading all the forums and visiting dealers when I can. Will add the Itasca Ellipse to my list for now.

Have to admit watching Monaco seem to skip the 2013 model year is giving me some pause. But can watch things unfold for a couple years. When closer will have to talk about new vs used, but figure DW will weigh in then since a lot of that depends on exactly what she wants and and how to get it. Very intrigued by hearing about a major remodeling. Will have to understand that option too downstream. Thanks all.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:39 AM   #14
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FlyingDiver - I said it because I have learned to be conservative in making big life and financial decisions. In my opinion jumping into full time RVing without lots of RV experience is not a conservative decision. If you buy an RV, especially a new motor home, go full time, and then don't like it fairly soon, you will suffer a huge financial hit.

It is also quite a big adjustment to go from a fixed house to likely a much smaller mobile one. Again, in my opinion, this is not something done lightly.

If doing what you did worked for you, great. But in my opinion it is better to take "baby steps" when making this kind of life changing steps.
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