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Old 07-19-2016, 03:15 PM   #1
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Smile A "New Wundertaking"...

Looking for some guidance from those of you that are "actually doing it"! I have much respect for those who are the experts and have actually "walked the talk" so I'm asking for some direction in the attempt to make some good rational and financial decisions.

My wife and I are within 3-4 years of retirement and we've decided to rid ourselves of all the "stuff" that many of us gather through one's life travels. When I actually cut the cord and walk away from the daily grind my wife and I are planning on Full-Timing in a Class "A" pulling a Toad for an unknown amount of time-God willing! I've traveled extensively by TT back in the 70's and 80's mainly in the Southeast pulling a Wilderness TT with a 3/4 ton Suburban with a thirsty but mighty 454...passed everything but a gas station! So...it's been about 30+ years since I've had to empty the beloved Black water tank and I'm guessing that a few things have changed.

My focus right now is the ever-popular "diesel vs gas" debate. I'm a born researcher and will beat the proverbial Internet horse to death in my attempt to "make the right decision"...which usually goes fairly well although certainly "not perfect"!

I have to be honest and say that I've been trying to "convince myself/talk myself" into a Gas Coach, for financial reasons, in the 35 foot range as I want to stay in that size range to access as many National Parks West of the Mississippi as possible. As hard as I try, with everything I hear/read/see, it "always seems to bring me around full-circle to the MIGHTY DIESEL"!!! In addition, I do seem to follow the ol' Tim Taylor adage from the old TV show "Tool Time" by always enjoying "MORE POWER"!!!

My finances are more or less flexible in that I'm comfortable with the Entry to Mid-Level price ranges of Diesels Pushers, and my wife, although initially shocked by the up front cost, is now more pro Diesel than the more affordable Gas Coaches. My research thus far has led me to the Winnebago Forza 34T and similar models by other leading manufacturers.

Our focus with be traveling throughout the Western part of our great country and want to be able to access all of our National Parks regardless of elevation. Most of all, "I don't want to worry/stress as to whether I'll have "enough power" to get us there comfortably and safely.

I would sincerely like to have some of your experienced input on this subject so somewhere down the road "I may assist someone also who may have the same concerns/questions ten years from now". I'm a firm believer in that "NONE OF US IS AS SMART AS ALL OF US"!!!

Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to offer...

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Old 07-19-2016, 04:02 PM   #2
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I don't yet own a diesel, but hope to after we retire if we go full timing, that said, if the cost of the diesel is not a concern, get a diesel. I've heard many people say they wish they could afford a diesel, I've never heard anyone say they wish they had saved some money and bought a gasser. A gasser is a less expensive way to be a motorhome owner, not a better way, but a less expensive way. The only way I can justify owning a diesel is if we full time in it. It's a better way to motorhome, but also a more expensive way. Again, if the cost is not a concern, get the diesel - period!

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Old 07-19-2016, 04:15 PM   #3
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Lots and lots of post about diesel vs gas on IRV2 so do some searching.
I think in general you will find that a gaser will get you everywhere and up any grade that a DP will. The primary difference is comfort with the diese neighborhood quieter with a smoother ride and a little more power going up grades.
If you are going to go full time remember that the coach will be your home. Go through both DPs and gassers to see what might best fit your life style.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:23 PM   #4
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RVing for over 50 years. Get the most diesel pusher you can afford. Don't look back and be sorry.
You've earned a little extra comfort.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:26 PM   #5
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FWIW also think about your priorities. If you watched the current thread about the fellow who almost took out a small car you can get a sense of the drivers who worry about a diesel. All I will say about the video is that when he passed the double tow early in the clip I would have been tucked in a couple of seconds behind the double in the slow lane not far left passing everybody. That is assuming I was on the super slab when I would have rather been on the side road seeing some scenery at 55. Do you want to get from A to be as fast as possible or see what is between A and B at a leisurely pace?
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:28 PM   #6
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In my opinion, it comes down to money. It's like deciding between a Cadillac and a Chevrolet...they will both get you from point a to point b in relative comfort, reliability, and convenience but if money is no object and you want all of the increased features, benefits, power, bells/whistles, etc. of a Cadillac....then it's a no brainier....buy the Cadillac. You should be happy and content and won't be disappointed. It sounds like you are in a similar situation. Good luck with your research and let us know how it turns out but I have a feeling that you're going to be the proud owner of a DP.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:33 PM   #7
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If I were in your shoes and wanted to do the type of travel you speak of, knowing what I know now...

I would:

A. Own a diesel.
B. Not spend over 60k on it (unless money were no object... in that case I'd spend 900K for a brand new foretravel and be done with it).

Here's two prime examples of RV's I would drive the wheels off of, and I'd be fine foregoing the glitz...

1998 Foretravel U320 36 Priced at $ 59500
1998 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 34WDS Priced at $ 34500

These two are 60k and 34k respectively. Both from well known makes, and from a trusted dealer.

You could spend more, and maybe get a *little* more glitz. You could spend A LOT more and get a LOT more glitz. Spending a *little* more will cost the same to replace and repair parts. Spending a lot more might cost more to replace and repair parts.

Point being that even if you step to say an 05 unit for 100k... the likely hood of the same $$ amount of repair bills exist. If you step up to say 150k, the likely hood of the same $$ amount of repairs bill exists, maybe more because there are more systems in place, and more complicated systems at that. Add more slides, add aquahot, add more complex wiring.. and you add more chances of $$ being applied to a fix down the road.

You need to evaluate this for yourself... and whatever unit you buy, you need to evaluate carefully and cautiously. Are parts available? Was everything well maintained? Do shops still service this engine? Does the chassis immediately need new bushings? So forth.

And there a three things I think often...

The market for sub-40 foot diesels is not large...
The market for older units is not that large...
The market for units with less than 4 slides is exceptionally small...(when buying my current trailer, I purposely avoided slides so that I would have no slides to fix)

That means there are some exceptional value's out there. A lot of gems that don't have a line of people beating a path to their door. Your advantage.

Just an .02, YMMV
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:43 PM   #8
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In our 16 years of full-timing and being in the western mountains all the time, we have yet to see a gas motorhome unable to make it up the hill. It may be slower but they'll make it.

Stay within your financial means. Don't go into debt buying a motorhome. Start your RV adventure debt-free.

As far as size, don't limit yourself. Our 40' motorhome fit in the same national parks that our 33' 5th wheel did. We fit in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Bryce, Rocky Mountain, among others. We also used public parks 90% of our 16 years - national parks, national forest campgrounds, state parks, Corp of Engineer parks, national wildlife refuges, county and city parks. We also boondocked quite often on national forest and BLM lands. . . all done in a 40' motorhome most often without reservations unless we really needed to be in a particular area on a certain date - like a family occurrence.

We purposely ordered both of ours with one slide in the 5th wheel and two slides in the motorhome. Using public parks we didn't want to have to deal with fitting the slides inbetween trees. We had no problem selling either. Slides only give you floor space and take away from basement storage space. Everyone doesn't want glitz. Also, since we used public parks we didn't want an washer/dryer and never regretted it. We did 2 weeks of laundry in CLEAN town laundries and didn't have to think about it. We were in towns anyway for groceries, etc. It was no big deal. You can't do laundry daily without a sewer hookup and most public parks don't have them. We didn't use campground laundries - that's where the dirty ones come into play.

We loved the 5th wheel as much as the motorhome. However, friends got us hooked on Jeeping so that's why we switched. We got the 40' size because it handled much better than a small one. We had excess room. We didn't need it that big so don't let anyone say you 'need' a big one to full-time. There are many out there in Class B & C's and small trailers. It just depends on what kind of space you need.

Have fun with your planning. It's an awesome lifestyle. Join the Escapees RV Club and get involved with them. It's not just for their great mail forwarding service or their owned parks, it's for the people you'll meet along the way and lasting friendships you'll make. It also publishes a great bi-monthly magazine written by RVers with very little advertising.
Full-timed for 16 Years . . . Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:24 PM   #9
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Steve and Nancy... Thanx for your response...I appreciate it! I think I'd like a diesel because I can just envision "chugging" up a mountain at 11 pm in Colorado at 25 mph and wondering "if" we'll make it!!! Would rather be overpowered than sweating every time I see gigantic inclines in front of me...not to mention listening to the "roar" of the gasser straining to get to the crest....thanx again...you comments are appreciated... :-)
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:29 PM   #10
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Tux...thanx for your response and please let your owners know that I appreciate it! We haven't driven a DP or Gasser yet so I'm going solely on the research I've done...which has been a ton. We will be FT'ing so I'm leaning in the direction of the DP as I also like the idea of a heavier and stronger chassis..not too mention air brakes, air ride suspension, quieter ride and so on... Of course I know this comes at a cost for sure... thanx again...appreciate your time!
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:33 PM   #11
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Mr. Ranger sir... Thanx for your direct no frills response...I appreciate those who get to the point! In my heart I know the DP is right, I'm caught a bit in the middle as I can't afford a brand new higher end DP but I could do a entry to mid range model. Also think I want to be in the 35 foot range...does that make sense? BTW... how do you like your Winnebago so far? With the research that I've done Winnebago is right at the top of the list in quality manufacturers...Thanx again
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:36 PM   #12
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Thanx for the post. We want to see the Country..not in a hurry..but...also want to get there comfortably and knowing full well that I have the power to do what needs to be done in any situation. I'm looking for comfort, ease of driving and very high on the list...dependability!!
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:42 PM   #13
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Mr. 70's...Thanx for your post... I'm strongly leaning toward the DP for sure. It's been amazing and interesting to hear/read/see all the input regarding the eternal debate! I am concerned however with the issue of repair expense comparing Gas to Diesel...seems like a big spread. I don't really need a new one...know I want Cummins and Allison Trans for sure...just trying to narrow down the "sweet spot" between the age of the coach and the price....hmmmmmm Thanx again...
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:50 PM   #14
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PlasmaCouple...thanx so much for your post...AND...thank you for your service to our great Country!!! We in no way need to own a new coach, gas OR DP, I guess I'm just trying to find the "sweet spot" between cost/age/chance and probability of big ticket repairs! We will be FT'ing and approaching the mid 60's I guess we are looking for a few more creature comforts. A big one for me is feeling confident in my Coach that we'll safely arrive unless something totally unexpected should happen. Would certainly consider an older coach from a well know/supported quality manufacturer. Thanx so much...

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