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Old 07-27-2016, 04:42 PM   #1
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Class A Diesel Coach size recomendation

I'm sure that this question has been asked many times in the future but I would like to start off on a new thread.

In a short 17 months my wife and I will become full timers.

My question is 40 ft or 43 ft for our coach. I have found many opinions on this topic and would appreciate this forums advice.

1. We plan on full timing for 3-5 years
2. We want to pick the right size the first time
3. We plan on work camping and my wife will need office space
4. We love the idea of boondocking
5. We love National Parks but size restrictions for entry (won't be a deal breaker.)

Thanks in advance!

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Old 07-27-2016, 04:48 PM   #2
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I can't imagine a park that would allow a 40fter stopping a 43fter. The size restrictions I've encountered have been well below that. I've encountered length restrictions with my 38fter. I'm of the opinion that if you're going to be living in it full time just go for the extra length. You won't miss not having it.

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Old 07-27-2016, 05:32 PM   #3
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We had a 40' new Allegro Bus and turned it in on a 43'. I definitely wanted the tag axle as the main axle and front axle on the 40' was loaded to the max before I put in all our stuff. DP's are getting heavier all the time. Just make sure the unit you pick has enough capability. The 43' is actually more stable to drive with the tag. Since we boondock a lot I have 860W of solar on the roof. We spend time on the deserts of the southwest and travel to Alaska every second summer. We had the 43' Bus designed without Hydro-Hot heating (big electric power hog) and with gas heat, hot water, range and oven and a residential refer. We can and do spend up to 2 weeks on rivers in Alaska without moving or hook ups. We use picnic bottle size 5gal LP bottles so we don't have to move the rig when we need LP. On those summers we go north we're living in the Bus from May thru Sept. The added room we picked up inside and in the basement when we went to 43' was not immediately obvious, but when we moved stuff from the 40' to the 43' we were happily surprised with how much extra space we had left. Since both rigs pulled the full size pickup equipped with a large bed cap, we also have extra storage in it.

Go for bigger if you can. You can always not use extra space if you don't need it, but you can't make more if you do. I've never had a situation where I could not get the 43 into any place we couldn't get the 40' into. I did however, have to push a bay in the barn we keep it in back 6'. I only had 3 inches clearance in the front and back total with the 40'. I guess everything has a drawback. LOL
2013 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43QGP
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:45 PM   #4
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We went through the same deliberation on our way to becoming full-timers - now in a 43' and loving it. With the turning radius we can fit most anywhere the 40' can. Yes, national park spaces are tight and few if not reserved very early. Love the stability and carrying capacity of the tag axle - and DW adores the split bath concept. And then ditto on all the previous posts ...

We took out the dishwasher and washer/dryer to convert for storage - put back propane for cooking and BBQ - and added 1400 of solar panels. Love to boondock - solar holds us almost indefinitely (run the genny for A/C rarely) - tanks hold us for about 10 days ...

Let us know what you decide to do, and remember no-one else can tell you what to do ...

Best wishes - safe travel
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:48 PM   #5
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We fit into national and other public parks with our 40' but I wouldn't try it with a 43'. Even that small amount will definitely make a difference.

We also boondocked often - possibly driving down a gravel road for 20 miles or so to find the perfect spot. You're looking at a much heavier MH in a 43' than ours without a tag and only two slides. We'd be hesitant in doing that. A 43' would probably be all electric. Ours was not but we had solar so could dry camp indefinitely depending on leaving and dumping the tanks.

Regarding size for full-timing. . . we were perfectly happy in a 33' 5th wheel for 8 years of full-timing but hated the big truck. We went to a motorhome so we could tow a Jeep which gave us lots of fun on Jeep trails. We used it another 8 years of full-timing. The only reason we went to a 40' was that with its wheelbase it rode much better than the shorter ones. We certainly did not need the space of a 40' for full-timing. Bigger isn't always better.

Just some things to think about. Depends on you. Good luck with your plans.
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:02 PM   #6
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I'm guessing here, but when talking 40' vs 43' most of the differences regarding where you'll fit is going to be about how well you drive as much as anything else.

Nobody is going to come rushing out of the guard shack and measure your coach.....
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Old 07-27-2016, 07:01 PM   #7
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Seems to me the size ought to be "big enough" for your needs, not what somebody else thinks is right for you. You wouldn't ask somebody else how big a house you should buy, would you? Just focus on what space and layout works best for you and don't sweat whether it works out to 40, 43, or 45.

Don't worry about RV parks - there are always one with space for big rigs, and a couple feet one way or the other isn't gonna make any difference once your get that big.
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:00 PM   #8
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We are transitioning to FT and chose 40' so as to (hopefully) fit in to a few more of the wooded / park campgrounds that we prefer.

CC, Paul, & Duckie (ACD): FT since 10/16 in '17 DSDP4018 w/Focus toad
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:21 PM   #9
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Our 40' is perfect.... Fits everywhere we like to go....
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:58 PM   #10
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We've fulltimed for 10 yrs in a 37' DP. Never have a problem staying anywhere - but 42-43 ft might have some problems in the older parks, especially east of the Mississippi
Barbara & David O'Keeffe
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:30 AM   #11
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We went through the same thing. Of course either one is going to be pretty limiting, but then anything smaller is kinda small to FT in, at least for me.

I looked at a lot of state/national campgrounds online. My distinct impression is that you are even more limited over 40' than at 40'. We stayed at 40' for that reason.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:39 AM   #12
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One of my fav floor plans addresses this. Newmar vantana 4037 / Dutch Star 4018. 40' bath and a half, full wall slide, tag axle, 400 HP ISL.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:48 AM   #13
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The only limit should be the length of the site. However you should be able to 'hang' over the end of many parking sites.

If you are worried about turning radius you can check to see the wheelbase and steering cut of the 40 and 40+ to see the difference. A 40' will have about the same wheelbase as a 42 with the tag dumped. That means if a 40 can drive in most of the times a 42 will as well.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:57 PM   #14
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We FT in a 42ft DP single axle. The newer tag axle units have a better turning radius then we do. We have stayed at many state parks and national parks and while I often joke with my DH about downsizing the truth is we like the storage and space on those not so nice weather days so no regrets on size. Full timing is definetly different then weekend warriors in needs. I think the main thing you need to look at is floor plans.

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