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Old 06-04-2015, 12:29 AM   #15
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Thanks for the responses. I know my question wasn't detailed enough, but this post will be far too long and detailed. Sorry!

We are young geezers (barely eligible for Social Security), and we've camped in one fashion or another since we first became a couple in the early '70's. Tents, pop-up campers, and a 24' Winnebago Minnie we've used for 3-month trips the last four summers. We'd like to go full time for a year or two, beginning in the next 12 months.

What was behind the question is simply that we've "run up" on a couple of RVs in the last week that we had never considered before. Specifically, we came across a 2002 Newmar Dutch Star (40') for a $50K, and just today a friend who knows we are looking offered a 1997 Prevost XL for $85K. Until this week, I had never heard of either type, so I had no idea what a good price was or whether either would meet our needs. (Turns out the Prevost originally sold for 1.4 million.) Now that I've spent so much time on the internet checking them out, I understand now that these are both better quality units than a Winnebago or Thor ACE.

We thought we wanted a Thor ACE ( I especially like the floor plan of the 29.2), until we realized it has essentially the same Ford truck chassis we have now. Actually, the size and even the storage of the Minnie has worked well for us, since we have been able to follow the "less is more" rule when on the road. But the ride was never comfortable, and riding on very rough roads in the NE US and the Canadian Maritimes last summer really took a toll on the pleasure of our trip. Since I'm betting that potholes and poorly poured concrete highways will never go out of style, I'm trying to fix the concern from the side I can control. Namely, what kind of RV we drive.

It has been my impression (Please correct me if I'm wrong) that a Class A would give a smoother ride in addition to the additional living space. We've tried to keep to the shorter side of RVs so far, because it is so much easier to park them in a shopping center or in a campsite. If I could find a 27-30' Class A that was well-designed, well-built, and had a smooth ride, I'd go that route.But then I keep coming back to the Ford truck chassis, which is what I'm hoping to improve.

Diesels have been recommended (not sure exactly why, since diesel engines and fuel are more expensive than gas), but most of the diesels I see are only in 33' and above. As I said, we've been fine with the less is more approach up to this point. We prefer public campgrounds (especially the National Parks) for the beautiful surroundings, and are able to go barefoot for up to 4 days at a stretch. We don't much like the commercial campgrounds where you are very close to the next camper and there aren't as many trees. So even though the larger class A's might provide more creature comforts while we're in the coach, but we may have to sacrifice - maybe even a LOT - in terms of being in the kind of semi-natural spots we enjoy so much.

I know that every situation has more than one angle, and that we have to make choices along the way. I'm just trying to get the information I need weigh out the choices. If you were to list the highest quality (meaning durability, comfort, good use of space) units out there, what would they be? What brands would you steer me clear of?

Oh, regarding budget, I'd like to stay under $100K, and I'd prefer gently used over new.

If you've hung in there reading all this, wow, thanks a lot. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreedomDream View Post
Go see motorhomes! Go see a lot of motorhomes! Look at new ones (the RV shows are good for this) look at used ones (go to as many dealer as you can, spend some time driving). Spending this kind of money is serious and you need to educate yourself. Tell the salesmen "We are just looking." Don't let them twist your arm until you are good and ready. THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS. You can sit back and relax AFTER you have done all the legwork and homework.

Good luck and travel safe.
When we started looking (in 1997) at something bigger than the 17' Type B MH we bought in 1988 we took a video camera with us so we could look again at stuff. Just too much to take in all at once. We hit the dealers lots, shows and private sellers. Finally ended up with a 29' Type C MH, then in '98 went to a 35' Type A and in 2000 to a Dutch Star DP.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:35 AM   #17
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Quote, "We thought we wanted a Thor ACE ( I especially like the floor plan of the 29.2), until we realized it has essentially the same Ford truck chassis we have now. Actually, the size and even the storage of the Minnie has worked well for us, since we have been able to follow the "less is more" rule when on the road. But the ride was never comfortable, and riding on very rough roads in the NE US and the Canadian Maritimes last summer really took a toll on the pleasure of our trip. Since I'm betting that potholes and poorly poured concrete highways will never go out of style, I'm trying to fix the concern from the side I can control. Namely, what kind of RV we drive. "

Where were you last year when we needed your thread!
Yep, we started with a Thor ACE 29.2 new last year. We took some trips including a run down I95. Terrible roads made that trip "not enjoyable". The ACE has all the compartments in all the right places but sway from trucks and concrete joints are nasty. Not to mention Thor uses the cheapest Motorhome parts available. This winter we traded for a Newmar entry level dp and wow what a difference on the road.

My advice is if you have any ability to get in a quality dp I would do that over a F53 built Motorhome. If not go with a Newmar gas rig. Stay away from anything with a schwintech slide. I think most others use it on some of the slides.

If possible, get in a time machine then go back and smack me in the head before I sign the papers on the ACE.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:49 AM   #18
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My RV is great--but yours, not so much....Like most have said....do your home work...dont be afraid of gently used or those which nolonger have factories. There are gems and lemons in every price range and brand. Suggest using the Tiffin line of coaches as a price point for comparison with other brands--you will begin to get an idea of what you are paying for Vs what you are getting.......
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:51 AM   #19
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My advice is if you have any ability to get in a quality dp I would do that over a F53 built Motorhome. If not go with a Newmar gas rig. Stay away from anything with a schwintech slide. I think most others use it on some of the slides.

If possible, get in a time machine then go back and smack me in the head before I sign the papers on the ACE.
X2. Traded a purchased new 2013 THOR Windsport on a 2014 Newmar Canyon Star. Too many problems to list with the former, the latter has been much better so far. When we grow up, maybe a Newmar DP???
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:15 AM   #20
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Regarding length, we avoid the parking lot type/hay field type campgrounds as well. I'd rather stay home. We use state and national parks almost exclusively, all over the country, and have not had any issue finding places that can handle our 38' rig, as we get along fine in most conditions without sewer or 50 amp service.

I can also identify with trying to maneuver in grocery store parking lots and the like, which is exactly why we pull a toad. The toad lets us take care of those kind of trips, as well as having the ability to explore and go on day trips while traveling - all while getting great gas mileage.

Regarding brand names, I would add Monaco, and sister ship Holiday Ramblers, to your list of quality built coaches. Checking in to what might be available there definitely worth your time.

Last, you mention ride is important. That's why you're attracting responses from people regarding diesel pushers. They're what you're looking for when it comes to ride. Nothing else in the same class.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:46 AM   #21
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The best buy would be 3 to 5 year old coach on which the orginal owner has had all of its major problems fixed and by this time, the coach depreciated quite a lot and it would cost you a fraction of a new one and if you are lucky, you'll find exactly what you are looking for.
Please don't buy new, it is a waste of money and a bag full of surprises for the following two years...
Anything over 35 feet, go to a pusher type coach with a diesel engine mounted on a strong chassis like Freightliner or Spartan; due to the weight of the coach and its maneuvrability, that type of coach has full air suspension and brakes etc... that is the reason why they are roughly $100,000 more then a regular FORD engine mounted coach.
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:00 AM   #22
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No matter what you decide on and no matter what you pay for it you may as well face the fact that they are NEVER EVER TROUBLE FREE! Things go wrong the more fancy stuff on the unit the more can go wrong. Make sure you purchase from a reliable dealer with a good reputation. Do a lot of research. As said above the best buys are units a few years old that were taken care of by the previous owner.
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:05 AM   #23
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One last point, make sure you buy a product that is still on the market such as Winnibago, Newmar, Tiffin, Coachman, Fleetwood and Thor; forget about Gulfstream and others like them that closed their production of motorhomes...
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:07 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by SuzyCothran View Post
What was behind the question is simply that we've "run up" on a couple of RVs in the last week that we had never considered before. Specifically, we came across a 2002 Newmar Dutch Star (40') for a $50K, and just today a friend who knows we are looking offered a 1997 Prevost XL for $85K. Until this week, I had never heard of either type, so I had no idea what a good price was or whether either would meet our needs. (Turns out the Prevost originally sold for 1.4 million.) Now that I've spent so much time on the internet checking them out, I understand now that these are both better quality units than a Winnebago or Thor ACE.

We thought we wanted a Thor ACE ( I especially like the floor plan of the 29.2), until we realized it has essentially the same Ford truck chassis we have now. Actually, the size and even the storage of the Minnie has worked well for us, since we have been able to follow the "less is more" rule when on the road. But the ride was never comfortable, and riding on very rough roads in the NE US and the Canadian Maritimes last summer really took a toll on the pleasure of our trip. Since I'm betting that potholes and poorly poured concrete highways will never go out of style, I'm trying to fix the concern from the side I can control. Namely, what kind of RV we drive.

It has been my impression (Please correct me if I'm wrong) that a Class A would give a smoother ride in addition to the additional living space. We've tried to keep to the shorter side of RVs so far, because it is so much easier to park them in a shopping center or in a campsite. If I could find a 27-30' Class A that was well-designed, well-built, and had a smooth ride, I'd go that route.But then I keep coming back to the Ford truck chassis, which is what I'm hoping to improve.

Diesels have been recommended (not sure exactly why, since diesel engines and fuel are more expensive than gas), but most of the diesels I see are only in 33' and above. As I said, we've been fine with the less is more approach up to this point. We prefer public campgrounds (especially the National Parks) for the beautiful surroundings, and are able to go barefoot for up to 4 days at a stretch. We don't much like the commercial campgrounds where you are very close to the next camper and there aren't as many trees. So even though the larger class A's might provide more creature comforts while we're in the coach, but we may have to sacrifice - maybe even a LOT - in terms of being in the kind of semi-natural spots we enjoy so much.

I know that every situation has more than one angle, and that we have to make choices along the way. I'm just trying to get the information I need weigh out the choices. If you were to list the highest quality (meaning durability, comfort, good use of space) units out there, what would they be? What brands would you steer me clear of?

Oh, regarding budget, I'd like to stay under $100K, and I'd prefer gently used over new.

If you've hung in there reading all this, wow, thanks a lot. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.
Welcome to the Forum!

Unfortunately, short and good ride are usually mutually exclusive terms. It's is the physics of motor vehicles. Your best ride is going to be a 3 axle Bus, the Prevost, for example. The price you mentioned for a well maintained Prevost is reasonable. Maintenance cost can be breathtaking if it has not been well maintained.

Good use of space is a very personal decision and is something you will decide after seeing 10-15 examples. Brand names in no particular order, Newmar, Prevost (which is a conversion BTW), Newell, Monaco, Tiffin, American Coach, Travel Supreme for a start. One of the problems is many top quality MH's are also glitzy, something we avoid also. There are nicely spaced campgrounds that cater to the larger MH's, they are not rustic, usually. Luxury Diesels can be complex and expensive, it depends on your perspective and the size of your wallet.

I recommend you open your mind and look at everything. You already know what you are trying to improve, so look at the things you haven't considered at the high end.

Tow a vehicle and stay one place, explore another, it's what many of us do. Enjoy the search and the journey!
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:17 AM   #25
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There are some diesels in your size range with air ride which is the biggest difference between most DPs and all the gassers out there. Take a look at the two models of the Tiffin BREEZE, for example.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:04 AM   #26
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If you decide to look at Tiffin, you may want to check out the Tiffin RV Network forum. Some of the fairly recent Tiffins had quite a few major issues like radius cracks, rotting wet bay floors, and other issues. You may want to see which units had those issues and whether or not they have been resolved in the unit you are considering.
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:01 PM   #27
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... One of the problems is many top quality MH's are also glitzy, something we avoid also. There are nicely spaced campgrounds that cater to the larger MH's, they are not rustic, usually. Luxury Diesels can be complex and expensive, it depends on your perspective and the size of your wallet.

I recommend you open your mind and look at everything. You already know what you are trying to improve, so look at the things you haven't considered at the high end.
BE OPEN TO CHECK OUT ALL MHs ... In 2014 we were set on placing an order for a 2015 Tiffin RED 33A. But before we did we located one to go see one more time. Well, the quality wasn't how we remembered so we decided no to the RED. While at Ancira RV, we spoke with a wise RV salesman Griz who recommended we check out Newmar and Itasca (not the Winnebago name but made by W) because of what we said we wanted. And Griz didn't even sell them . Newmara was too glitzy for us. But one week later, we bought a 2015 Itasca Meridian 36M and it is AWESOME. CASE IN POINT--We had ruled out Winnebagos because of our past views of Winnebagos a long time ago so we never even looked at them! AND STAY OPEN!
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:14 PM   #28
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You can negotiate discounts on most new MHs 25-30% off the MSRP. And don't rule out fly/drive to get your best price.
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