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Old 02-10-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
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45 vs 40 ft. motorhome

Newbie, just visited Tampa show, saw some amazing models, ready to roll.
Question: For you experienced owners, does the length of a coach limit
one to campgrounds, or is that not something I should be concerned over?
Also, does that extra five feet in length create any traveling concerns on
roads, bridges, etc.?

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Old 02-10-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Length does limit you sometimes. We have 42 ft., plus toad, equals 62 ft. overall. We are fine with a lot of pull through spots at campgrounds without unhooking, but some we have to. We cannot fit in some state parks.

I am not sure there is a lot of additional limitation between a 40 footer and a 45 footer. Get the 45 footer. The tag axle is cool looking.


2009 Newmar 42 ft. Allstar 4188, Wheelchair Accessible, 400HP Cummins ISL, Allison 3000, Mastertow Dolly, '98 Riviera
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:26 PM   #3
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I agree with Don on the "coolness" of the tag!

Most of the "limitations" you'll run into come in at 32-36 feet. We've certainly seen some state park sites we won't fit into at 36. We've seen more that advertised we wouldn't fit but when we got there we did. Many nat'l parks advertise some pretty strict size limits too, some of these campgrounds are very old, they had no idea then.

It's always best to call anyway, rather than trust an online reservation system. Even if that's the only way to reserve, the ranger on the phone can and will tell you what sites you'll fit in, and which sites are best.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:06 PM   #4
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I moved from a small class A to a big one. My experience is that it is difficult to drive such a long vehicle in many situations. But the benefit is that you get all that room inside and in the basement. So you just put up with the added difficulty. Or at least that is what we do. We love the spaciousness of our motor home. The answer to your question is, yes 45' will limit you. Is it worth it for the extra space, maybe. If we could have found the interior of our coach in a 40' we would have preferred that to the 42' we bought. If we had had a bit more budget we would have possibly gone for a bit newer Intrigue that was 40' and had a tag.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:25 PM   #5
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We had a 40 Diplomat 2004 and went to a 45 Dynasty 2008. I have found the driving experience to be SIGNIFICANTLY better in the 45. I was already limited in the 40 without the advantages of the 45. Get the 45.
J & J Sabatinos + Schnauzer & Bengal
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:23 AM   #6
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We've had a 40 footer (non tag), currently have a 43 and have a 45 on order, both with tags. Yes, there are lots of state and national parks that we can't fit in. It isn't just the size of the pads---you also have to consider the turning radius of the interior roads and how well the trees are trimmed. Frankly, having 4 slides can also be a problem due to encroaching trees. Older parks, both commercial and state/national, simply weren't designed to accommodate longer coaches. They may say they're big rig friendly but really aren't. We always call ahead and make certain the campground knows how long we are and how many slides we have. We've found that anything less than 4 star Woodall rating probably can't fit us in very well. And if they don't have 50 amp service they're older parks and probably can't accommodate us. The Big Rig book lists parks that will take the big rigs---even to the point of specifying which sites are best. That being said, go for the floor plan that you like. I like the tag axle because the coach is more stable: it doesn't pitch front to rear and isn't affected by crosswinds as much as a non tag. Have you ever pulled out of a fuel or grocery stop and gone across an uneven gutter as you pulled out into the street and had the coach rock side to side? A tag axle will eliminate alot of that. And a tag will give you more carrying capacity and unless you load it up to the max, the extra 2 sets of brakes on the tag will give you better braking capacity. Yes, a tag does take up some of your basement space. Hope this helps. Good luck. You're fortunate that you have choices.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:39 AM   #7
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One point that hasn't been mentioned here regarding going from a 40 foot coach to one that is longer, is possibly your driver's license requirements depending on what state you are from.

Some states require a special class license to drive a RV over 40 foot.

Dr4Film ----- Richard.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:05 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post

Some states require a special class license to drive a RV over 40 foot.

Dr4Film ----- Richard.
????? What states might that be? We've never seen anything except the pretty standard weight requirement. Anything over 36,000 lbs. needs an additional notation on a license and since most 40'ers are over that weight, no difference.
Hal & Ginny Miller '04 Beaver Santiam PRT40
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:29 AM   #9
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Hi jimgems,
Welcome to iRV2. Answers to your questions are:
"does the length of a coach limit one to campgrounds"
Yes is does limit one to CGs that can comfortably accommodate the length of the coach.

"is that not something I should be concerned over?"
For me, it is of no concern. I stay only in CGs that can accommodate my coach. There are plenty of CGs to choose from. I am not a State/Federal park camper. I am a high end CG or Resort camper.

Also, does that extra five feet in length create any traveling concerns on
roads, bridges, etc.?
The extra 5' should create no traveling concerns. The purpose of my coach is to get me from one CG to the next over Interstate or main roads. Then become my home as I tour the area in the toad.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by H. Miller
????? What states might that be? We've never seen anything except the pretty standard weight requirement. Anything over 36,000 lbs. needs an additional notation on a license and since most 40'ers are over that weight, no difference.
That would be CA. We kept to 40' partly for that reason but also because larger would limit us in more public campgrounds. We stay mostly ar State Parks and National Forest. The 40' does limit us some but a larger motorhome would limit us significantly more.

If you like to camp mostly in private campgrounds you really don't need to worry about size.
12 paws, 40 feet and the open road
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:21 AM   #11
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Just throwing this out there...Fuel Cost...Usually the bigger the rig the bigger the engine...
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:29 AM   #12
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While I have seen it, it's rare to see a 40' limit at a campground. Typically those that 'advertise' a length limit are 30 - 35 foot limits. Some are less. In other words, there will be few campgrounds where you can park a 40' motor home that a 45' motor home wouldn't also fit into.

It's generally accepted that a tag will handle better on the highway, and the tag will give you a higher CCC, allowing you to bring all those things you just can't live without with you. Our 43' motor home has a sharper wheel cut than our 34' gasser did and that makes up for some of the issue associated with the longer length, as for manuevering.

It's a personal choice, but buy what YOU really want.
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Can't take it with you - don't plan on leaving any behind
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:25 AM   #13
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We moved up from a 35' DP to our 44'+ Signature. When we first looked at the MH the guy selling it said it was a 42' MH and my wife loved it. We took it out and drove it and she had no problems. It looked awful long to me but what did I know. I was going through a drawer under the sofa and found the original documentation and found it to be a totally different model and was really 44' long. Now my wife was suddenly against it. I bought it anyhow and now she drives it and has no problems. I love the stability that TAG axle gives you in crosswinds. Going down the highway it makes no real difference if it is a 40' or a 45' because you forget what is really behind you until you stop and walk back to the toad then you remember how long you really are. Never had a problem with a campground yet. Most campgrounds realize that they needed to lengthen their sites and have done so. Yes there are some smaller State Parks that have limits but I have not been to one yet.

Yes the good old State of California has a requirement that if you are over so many feet long you need a letter from a doctor about your health and heart. The CHP is very helpful and will send you the document if you care. I don't care. I don't see what difference the health of my heart has to do with a MH being 40' or 45' long. Jeez if I have a heart attack while driving it is going to be bad regardless on what length the MH is.

It is crazy that you can be 95 years old and in a wheelchair and buy a 45' MH and drive off the lot with no special training or drivers license. Still can't figure out what that big hissing sound is when I hit the brake pedal when in traffic
Mike Canter
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:05 PM   #14
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We like to camp in the Yosemite Valley and there are no sites that will accomodate a 45 footer. Camping outside Yosemite and driving in every day is long and painful depending on summer traffic.

So we stick with a 40-footer and fight for the 12 sites in Yosemite that can accomodate a rig that big!

Without that restriction, I'd be in a 45-footer is an instant!

Tom and Katharine
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'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
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