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Old 07-06-2014, 06:36 PM   #1
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Class A or C for family of 4

Hi, I’m a first time RV'er, and I’m thinking of buying a used 1985 or newer class A or C motor home for camping trips with my family. I've had a 22 foot TT in the past and do not want another - hated towing it around. Our budget is up to $10,000. Our boys are ages 5 and 7. We live in Oregon and we would like to use it for weekend trips and longer road trips up to 3 weeks. We would like to visit many different National Parks, Forest Service and state campgrounds, and beaches. We could see ourselves taking trips up to Alaska and maybe even cross country. I dislike driving huge rigs.

Looking for any suggestions on the smallest one that would be comfortable on longer trips? I’ll be test driving before I buy, but from your personal experience, is there a difference driving a 24 footer vs a 30 footer? Any major difference in engine/drivetrain/transmission/chassis? I don’t know if it would be possible, but for the places I know I’d like to visit, a 4x4 might be handy, so ease of converting it might factor into my decision, but I know at my price point, I won’t have much choice.

So far, I’ve seen a Fleetwood flair 1996, 22 foot, Class A, and a ‘ultra rare’ Sterling, 1985, 24 foot Class A. The floor plans of both look nice with a queen bed in the back; I’m just not sure if there will be enough beds in front for both boys. I’m also not sure if I should bump up my search to include 27 footers. Also, what about the age and mileage, should I be looking for only newer, less than 15 years old and less that 60,000 miles, or does it matter? What would be your cut-off for age/mileage?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 07-06-2014, 06:56 PM   #2
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Good luck on your search! We're in a similar situation. We currently have no kids, but we're in the middle of the adoption process, and may have 2-3 by the end of summer, along with our three dogs! We're budgeting a little more, but the question is the same.

We also started out with a travel trailer. Actually, we had a pop-up, then a 32' TT, now we're back to a pop-up. I hate having to drive a big pickup on a daily basis to have a decent tow vehicle.

I know there are a couple companies (Host RV, for one) that make 4X4 motorhomes, but they are mega bucks for what is essentially a permanently attached truck camper.

If you are handy and willing to do some upgrade/repair work, I think you can get what you are looking for. My impression is to focus on the running gear first, and worry about the interior second. Obviously, this isn't necessarily an option if you are hoping to be up and running next week!

My wife and I lived on a 10 year old sailboat for almost 18 months. It had been a charter boat for the entire time before we bought it. Think 10 year old rental car, and you'll get some idea. Her hull and running gear were sound, so we slowly fixed things up as time and money allowed. I think you may have more options if you go that route.

If you are not able to give the engine and running gear a thorough inspection yourself, I would suggest finding a good mechanic who can do it for you. Others may chime in, but I suspect you want to stay new enough to be into fuel injected engines. I think the reliability and fuel economy went up quite a bit when FI became commonly installed. I've heard of old, big block V-8 motorhomes getting low single digit fuel economy. That might break the camping budget; only you can answer that.

Good luck, and I'm sure others will give more specific recommendations.


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Old 07-06-2014, 07:20 PM   #3
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My family and I did something similar last year . We bought a 94 fleetwood pace arrow. Best advice I can give you is spend the money up front for a thorough inspection. We did not do that and it was a mistake that cost us thousands of dollars. Got rid of it in the spring.Personally, I'd recommend renting a few times until you have a better budget, or sock a few grand away for repairs. You would still get done enjoyment and probably save in the long run. Good luck to you.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:25 PM   #4
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You answered your own question. End of 1st paragraph. "I dislike driving big rigs" GET A CLASS C.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:38 PM   #5
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Here's a nice one

Private seller 4077217488

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Old 07-06-2014, 07:41 PM   #6
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More pics from the Georgie Boy
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:17 AM   #7
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Class C for sleeping, Class A for living. I'm amazed at the sleeping quarters of most class C units. Overhead, dinette, rear queen and sometimes a pull out couch.
Our Class A is more suited for living and entertaining but really sleeps just 2 comfortably.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by t55watson View Post
You answered your own question. End of 1st paragraph. "I dislike driving big rigs" GET A CLASS C.
I don't mean to be trying to nit pick but he said he disliked driving HUGE rigs. I've seen some Class C units that are longer than small Class A ones.

To the point I am trying to make is that there are some rather big class C units out there. Personally, I like the drive and feel of a class A for the most part.

That being said, there are sooooo many variables to consider for the OP that no answer we can give is pat. One family of 4 might do well in a smaller Class C while another might not. How old are the kids and will the OP be doing lots of dry camping, using park bathroom/shower facilities, need room for camping gear, wanting to have a toad and many other factors?

From what I can make out of the OP's original question there are both Class C and Class A options available and the only way they will figure it out is to spend a fair amount of time crawling in and out of them.

Given the information available, there is no way the OP will find a 4X4 option that is viable. Not sure what they meant by convertible. The only thing I see that might be close is to tow a trailer with some 4 wheelers if the purpose is to explore more rugged parts of parks and beaches.

Personally, I wouldn't rule out anything in the 30' range. That length in either a C or an A will get in and out of the vast majority of CG situations but if a 27' meets their needs, that is fine also. In most cases, the difference will most likely be in the overhang length but in some cases a slightly longer wheel base which will make road handling a bit nicer.

My last thought to toss out is how old and/how many miles depends a great deal on the mechanical capabilities of the OP. If they can turn wrenches and such then they have more options. A solid unit with no history of water leaks, good maintenance records, and with a reputable chassis can be a bargain. If the OP isn't mechanically inclined it can be a head ache. Recognizing that older units will often need new tires, batteries, TLC and elbow grease is important. All of those items are rather inexpensive. Heavy duty drive train work is another story.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:19 AM   #9
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just for info we had a 05 endura class c. loved it but lost the cab area for living. now have a class a same length now have 5' more living space and 2 chairs and big frount window to look out when were camped on water.
safe travles bob linda & missy
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:03 AM   #10
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my concern is with the budget they have. RV's are expensive. You can spend 2 or 3 thousand just getting a tow vehicle. Yes you can buy older RV's and fix them up but once again parts and everything for them can be expensive. I have a 2005 tiffin. I bought an extended warranty when I bought it and there have been a few thousand dollars worth of repairs on that warranty. I admit if I had done them myself that would have come down to around 2000 in parts but that is still 20 per cent of their budget. I think everyone should have an RV. I want a new tiffin zephyr personally. But if I bought one it would have to sit in the parking lot of some kind of homeless shelter because I would not have any money to drive it or pay for a place to live. I wish the OP good luck in what he is trying to find but I hope he does a lot of research on the costs of owning an RV, maintenance, fuel mileage etc.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:16 AM   #11
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Not going to get much for $10,000. Can hardly get a decent used vehicle for that.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:15 PM   #12
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Class A I would doubt for 10K, vintage 1980's. However, there are a lot of C's out there that they could pick up, though as previously posted OP better be pretty handy with a wrench.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:36 PM   #13
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I am gonna throw much cents in here with my train of thought. You should get a class C. Reasons, bunk above the cab. This becomes the chooses space. They are just the right dice for threads for what they do. All their stuff can be up there. This is great space that the A will not have unless there are bunkbeds. Just my 2 cents. Good luck
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:14 PM   #14
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If you look at A's, consider the Coachmen Mirada Bunkhouse model. You get a lot for your money there, thought like others above, I think that $10k is a pretty low budget. If financing is an option for you though, you could use that $10k for a down payment. It's not right for everyone in all situations.... all about your personal situation.

We started with a 35' Mirada BH (two kids) and quickly upgraded to a 40' DP. The Mirada was great for weekends and short trips, but long hauls pushed me towards a DP. We enjoy 2-3 week trips during the summer, and the Coachmen could easily handle that, but the long drives were less desirable (noise and heat from the engine up front).

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