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Old 08-31-2016, 08:14 AM   #15
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Having rented class C motorhomes in the past, you probably have a good idea of what you want or need. We have owned 8 coaches from a 32' gasser to our current 43' DP. I suspect it is a rare occurrence for a first time buyer to find that perfect one the first time. My advise is to go to the show with a promise to yourself that you will not buy at the show. That takes the pressure off while looking. Before you make your decision, find and drive three different 8-10 year old high line DP 36-40' in length. Compare the build quality, storage space, ride quality, and overall comfort. With due diligence into the history and condition of a used DP, I guarantee you that you would get far more for your dollar than any new gasser coach and you will not lose 1/3 of it's value the first year of ownership.
Buying new is nice, but expensive if it's not your last coach and the odds are that it won't be your last one.

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Old 08-31-2016, 12:19 PM   #16
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I agree with all the folks who are telling you to start out used. Once you get into camping in a motor home, you will find things that you want/need and the chances that you will hit on the perfect one right from the start is doubtful. Keep in mind, that the minute you drive off the lot with a NEW one, it is worth only about 50% of its retail MSRP.

Although finding a 'good' used one is hard and takes time, I think it's worth it $$$ in the end. Also, hopefully you have a friend who can help you make that right decision. I had friends who helped me, and since then I have helped others do the same. In fact two people from this forum have called.

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Old 08-31-2016, 12:20 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by RLC06 View Post
Agree with everyone else on buy used first. We went low end budget just to make sure we would use it as much as we hoped and to learn what we liked and didn't like, and not necessarily just in size/length. There is LOTS to consider in options that are needed for your travel lifestyle and options that are totally unnecessary or even burdensome. For example, slide number and preferred sides. Basement storage vs cabinet storage. Booth vs dinette. Outdoor entertainment or kitchen? Washer/dryer combo? Things I didn't think were important turned out to be significant pluses to our traveling lifestyle. Things I thought I wanted were easily ruled out as we planned our upgrade. Let your wife enjoy some research on these pages. I am on here MORE than my husband lol. I am so thankful for the twenty months we spent with our entry level coach learning about our preferences! Even though you have rented some class Cs you are stepping up into an entirely different class by buying a new Class A. Not better not worse...just different. Also, x2 on the fact that many many owners that buy new testify the first year or more has much too much time spent in the shop fixing "bugs" ... JMHO
Newly retired, and current 'campers' with an F450 dually pickup and Arctic Fox camper, we've been researching Class A motorhomes, and I find your opinions helpful. We'll definitely buy 'used' and to date, Tiffin seems to have spent more time on my research calendar than most others. I have a Allegro Bus 'want' with an older Phaeton budget, so we'll see where that takes us. Things such as television placement is high on the list, and one troublesome detail is that my wife would like the dinette to be on the passenger side (so you can eat and look out beyond the awning) but most Class A's tend to have the dinette on the drivers side of the coach! Have talked to many Tiffin owners, with most being extremely happy other than 1, who had an older 2000 Allegro with a 300 HP diesel pusher, where he said, get all the power you can afford! Oddly enough, the next owner had a much newer Allegro Bus with 450 HP, who was completely satisfied with his power output! Much depends on what you may be towing, but we'll always have an 18' enclosed trailer (with toys) or vehicle on other trips, so power output 'is' one of the many needs for us. I'd prefer 40', where my wife figures a 36-37' to be plenty! Stacker washer/drier are needs as well for those long excursions, as are many other options of course. Some Tiffin brands have the fancy ceilings, which I like (again, Tiffin Allegro Bus & higher I believe) but my wife prefers the plain ceiling with LED's only, so, lots to consider. I've seen relatives buy & sell many times over, trying to find just the right unit, costing them $$ in the meantime, so I'd like to do my research and find one that will last me a minimum of 10 years, so a lower mileage unit will be a need as well more than likely. There again, I don't know just how high one can go with trouble-free mileage on a Class A motorhome? I know there are some old pickups with a million miles, but it's doubtful a motorhome will be anywhere near that near it's end of life usage!
Then there are the issues of is there a specific size/output of generator that is best (I know we all have different uses of course), and I'm hearing a full fibreglass roof is better than a rubber roof, so more research is needed there. Tires...often you never wear out the rubber on tires on a coach, but 'age' is a consideration, so one should know how to read the info on the side of the tire to figure out it's age! Side radiator to rear radiator...does it really matter? How easy/difficult is it to do one's own engine maintenance, as I always do my own on my pickup? Placement of fuel filters for both engine and generator...can one do that themselves? I'd like to boondocks more than my wife, as she's a 'busy-bee' wanting to hit the gym and other RV Park amenities, but I'm not seeing a ton of Class A's for sale with a good assortment of solar panels? I still have a ton of research before spending the $$, and the largest hold up is that I live in Canada, and with the $$ difference, we have to add over 30% to the sale price, making the whole process that much longer. Again, thanks for the info to date, as it's truly been helpful.
2010 Ford F450 King Ranch 4X4, with Arctic Fox 9'10" slide in camper & 18' enclosed trailer for quads. Looking for just the right DP motorhome to fulfill our needs!
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:02 PM   #18
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I really try to avoid posts like this but I cant bear to see another person after a new purchase without their new coach for several months at the dealer and all of the horror stories that seem to come with the new units. If it was circa 2006 I would say go for it. In 2016 no thank you, in my opinion the only two gas coaches I would consider would be in this order, Newmar then Tiffin. We purchased our first coach used (31' Class C) ran it for 8 years, my wife wanted new, after looking for several months we decided to go used. Most of my career I worked for a CAT, Cummins, Navistar, Ford dealer. Large dealership as a technician. I primarily worked on Motorhomes. Made a lot of friends at the time with the customers had a good report with them. We would work on any complaint, not just chassis. I do not consider myself an expert in anyway, but I do have some hands on experience.
With all of that being said I looked at new Gas Class A's in 2014. After seeing what we saw with the overall quality, materials and workmanship there is NO WAY (I probably could be talked into one of the two listed above, had she pushed, but she saw the same stuff I saw, just much less with the two mentioned above). I bought a well taken care of Used DP for less than 1/2 the price of a new Gas coach.
One member mentioned a used Allegro Bus....I have a friend that just bought one, 2005 40', while his quality is good access to almost everything that needs routine service is almost impossible, and for some strange reason Tiffin cant get most parts for it so far, he has had to fabricate stuff to fix it. Remember the longer it takes a technician to access something the higher your maintenance costs will be. If you are doing the maintenance yourself if you cant access it you might have to pay someone to do so, or struggle just to maintain it with the basics. Just a few things to think of while shopping. A used DP depending on the manufacture will get you real hard wood cabinets and real tile flooring, decent MPG, fiberglass or aluminum roof (Not rubber) well insulated and quiet inside (even when parked in the rain) and it just goes on and on.
Believe me I understand if your wife is stuck on new, you are buying new. Good luck and hope to see you soon on the road.
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Old 08-31-2016, 02:23 PM   #19
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First, specifically to the OP's senario, I wouldn't suggest buying any Motorhome, A,B, C or Z.

The OP has teens, who will "enjoy" camping with mom and dad for a few more years at best.

If you are buying any RV and are making accommodations for your kids, that RV is NOT going to be what you want later when they are gone. So, yes, no matter what you get, and if you continue to want to RV, you will end up with another one sooner than later.

If you are not able to travel extensively, all the money in a MH ($100k per the OP's budget) just sits in your storage area most of the time.

My suggestion is get a $40k travel trailer that is teen friendly and a nice $60k tow vehicle that you can use everyday for your $100k.

Once the kids are gone, or not interested in camping anymore, and assuming you are not yet retired, get a new trailer more suited to just the two of you, and once you have more time to travel consider a MH...... But, if you are dead set on a MH, try to swing the extra money for a Tiffin or Newmar, it will be money well spent in the long term. In between, you'll find the Bounder which I think would be well worth the smaller premium.......

As for the new / used debate..... For $100k you are talking a 12-15 year old "high quality" DP, not 8-10. At $125k, you are barely in the 8 year old price point for a nicer DP. And buying a used coach, no matter what kind, just because it is a good deal, not necessarily exactly what you want, is exactly how you get into the buying / selling circle, and never ending search for a great buy that you think you kinda like for the price.

For our money, and and after 18 months of ownership, and over 6 months traveling, including 4 trips of a month or more, we have no second thoughts of our buying a new gasser. We had, and still have, no desire for a 40' DP, much less one that is 5 years old, 8,10, or 15 for a very long list of reasons.....

Per the above, our Tiffin is as nice inside and outside as any 8 year old DP. And in reality, other than some bling, it's as nice as a new Tiffin Phaeton DP that costs 2X+ a new Tiffin gasser. And believe it or not, I get to the exact same campgrounds / resorts as any DP does, including $2M Prevosts.

Now, if you are talking a $200k budget or more, the new / used conversation is very different...........

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Old 08-31-2016, 06:03 PM   #20
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One more thought for the OP regarding the RV show, based on our buying experience. While we did not go to any huge show, we did attend several smaller ones during our research.

In looking back, given the mass of people, particularly inside the units, it is very hard to get a decent perspective of what they are really like. At one show we did walk into a Bounder, not sure if it was the 33 or 35, and just did not get a good feeling for how it really "lives".

Why do I remember that one, because when we walked into the 33 and 35 Bounders, and then the same general floor plan Tiffins at our dealer, with just us (and the salesman) we realized we really liked that general floor plan (tv across from the "living room" sofa).

And at that point, our decision process became very focused, and as I noted above, it has been the right one for us getting a new Tiffin 31SA. However, we also decided to order it exactly how we wanted it; again, why buy anything you don't really want / like to start with, no matter what it costs or you may "save" (in what in reality becomes, short term)?

Per my post above, I noted $200k+ as what I think the new / used discussion cross over point is, which of course is a DP to DP decision no matter what. While $200k is a starting point to me of new / used, it becomes more relative the higher the price point you are budgeting for, but, on the other hand, I think too many people don't budget appropriately for chassis/systems/technology/decor upgrades when buying used coaches over 5 years old.

Saving money is never "free", and you need to build in appropriate costs associated with "saving" money. And while many people like diy projects, unfortunately diy projects (home, RV, or otherwise) are often more diy than professional in thier outcome, to any observer other than the DIYer. (One of the many reasons buying an older coach was not something we were interested in).

As I noted in another post recently, at a campground we stayed at last week, there were some very neat older, no slide coaches, including a Fore Gran Villa. Yep, Motorhomes of Texas actually has one that looks to be in great condition, and a "steal" at ~$30k, but my SWAG on a full professional retrofit, while trying to keep the interior decor "period correct" would be probably $100k....... Yes, it would be very cool, but certainly a project and budget that you would take a lot of planning, and time to pull off, and while it would be a very cool coach, is it really very practical?

And the other, older used Fores (with slides) that were $60k- low $100s proably needed $100k of work to get them up to date and "as new" too.

So this is where my $200k cross over comes in - $100k or so for an older used FORE, plus $100k to fully and professionally retrofit it (if my SWAG is in the ballpark), so for under $250k you get an "as new", older used Fore, or a new DP from Tiffin / Newmar etc. And that can easily work way up to as much as you want to spend; $200k, $300k for the used FORE +$100k retrofit. To me, that would be an interesting decision.............

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Old 09-01-2016, 12:17 PM   #21
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My 2 cents (worth about a penny):

We got a new entry level class A. In the shop for weeks at a time. Ended up with our new Tiffin 32 SA a year and a half later. If we had bought the Tiffin first for full retail, We'd still be a little ahead, money-wise. Live and learn. that's in part why I'd try to get a more up-scale brand...

Go to the RV show. Go during the week and start early. Find your favored floor plan: Front lounge or mid-lounge, TV placement, dinette or booth, king or queen bed, split bathroom/Shower or all-in-one. How long of a rig do you want (is storage an issue? Your driveway length?) Get literature.

I would agree that if you want new: Tiffin, Newmar, then Winnebago (Newmar did NOT impress us as much as it impresses some, but it's definitely a cut above). Other coach models may be in the realm of consideration, but in MY experience, The top three gassers are as stated above, you can quibble with Newmar vs Tiffin, but you need to look for yourself. Winnebago has a gamut of gassers from entry level to high-end. We looked at their Sightseer series and like a lot about them.

Things to consider:

1. get the 22.5" wheels - aluminum is cast, not stamped like the steel wheels, so roundness and balance should be better, smoother ride.
2. wheelbase is important - longer gives a better ride, a littler harder to maneuver in tight places.
3. Rear overhang (length from rear wheels to rear of coach): leads to more pushing by Tractor Trailers and wind gusts.
4. The smaller Ford chassis (18K lb and less), don't have a front trac bar/or it's optional. This makes a difference in handling on the road. You can always add one, of course.
5. If used: Around 2013, Shwinteck had issues with it's slide motors and there was great concern about slides not working. Thor, for example, redesigned their slide mechanism to include an extra rail. My friends' Winnebago Journey was in the shop for several months while they waited for and replaced the slide mechanism. I was leery about full-wall slides as a result. Just do your research. Many have been fixed without further issues.

For new gassers, you won't have a choice in the chassis manufacturer, just in the coach. Make it a good one.

One last thing: I won't let my coach stay at the dealer for servicing for weeks any more. Before I bought the tiffin, I made sure the dealer understood that I will make an appointment for servicing - in advance - and will stay while it is being serviced the same day. No dropping off and waiting for a call. I will respect your time, but you have to respect mine.

If it is likely a part may be needed, I will call Tiffin, see about getting the parts first so that there'll be no, "we had to order parts" with an open-ended wait for parts and time to get to it. So far it's worked okay (it's about a 2-3 hour drive to my dealership) and so far, the biggest issue was that the bedroom slide needed a slight adjustment rearward to keep the bed-side table from scratching the door as the slide comes in. It didn't take them long.
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:35 PM   #22
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:39 PM   #23
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Here is a site where owners rate RV manufacturers. I like it as a starting point.
RV Rating - Customer Survey of RV Makes and Models
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:31 PM   #24
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We just went through this with the same budget. We ended up with a 2004 Newmar Mountain Aire three slide, 400hp ISL Freightliner with the perfect floor plan for us. 2 previous meticulous owners with all maintenance records since new with all maintenance current and 6 new batteries. Plus manuals for every system including add-ons. It is spotless and as good as hoped for, probably better. It took a year to find it, we could not be happier with our decision.

Edit: we factored in new tires and still kept $15k in the bank for future needs that might arise...
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:50 PM   #25
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Many Thanks to all!

Wow, what a great insight into purchasing our first MH. I can so appreciate how many of you have pushed 2 main issues, look for a DP and better to buy used than sacrifice quality for a low price entry level gas model that's new. I will definitely be printing this thread out and showing it to the wife. It certainly may sway her on the new vs. used. I appreciate the input from everyone and will check out the owners and manufacturers forums for more info. Trust me, pressure is off for the show. The wife understands, we need to be there to decide on fit and function rather than buying for a great show price (which doesn't even seem to exist). Once again, Thanks to all who spent time to help us out with this research portion prior to purchase. The info has been a great help!
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:18 PM   #26
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I have a 2012 Forest River Georgetown 337XL that I bought new and love it. It is 4 years old has 24k on it and it has never been back to the dealership. Some minor problems but nothing I could not fix. If you get a Georgetown get the XL and 22.5" wheels on a 26k cgwr chassis , worth the extra. I shopped a lot and follow several forums and Georgetown XL seems to have more amenities than any other RV in the price range.
When I buy my next new coach I will find a dealer that will do what Camping World in Chattanooga does. They let you drive it then return to the dealership where they they let you park it in a campsite overnight. They show how to hook it up and let you spend the night there for free. Then the next day they make sure there are no questions or issues to take care of before you drive it home. Pretty good service, it seems any good dealership would do the same if they have a campground nearby.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:32 PM   #27
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So Many Things to Consider!

Highly recommend spending some time at this site Buying RVs, Tow Vehicles and Toads by phred & become a member of the following site RV Consumer Group - We Rate RVs.Small price to pay for a wealth of info on not making a bad choice.

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