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Old 08-19-2013, 07:13 PM   #1
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Family of 7 looking for a rig

Hi everyone, new here and wanted to take the time to introduce myself. My wife and I are looking to get our first rig and do a bit of traveling. We have 5 children (10, 7, 4, 2, 8m) so that makes things a bit more interesting in picking something out. I'm interested to hear from some of you on your thoughts as we're shopping around. I've done a lot of searching and now its time to hear what some others think.

We home school and would be looking to travel at different times of the year...hopefully for extended trips of several weeks at a time.

Budget: I'm not 100% sure yet. Let's just set it at less than $75k. I would look to step up a couple of years from now, so I'm not afraid of something a bit older to start out with.

Engine: Diesel (I'll need the power for the amount of people, stuff, and larger toad to fit all 7 of us)

Length: 40+

Tank capacities: the more the better. We want to be able to occasionally travel for a couple of days with out having to fill up and dump.

Kitchen: residential fridge would be great...and I would be willing to do a conversion if possible

Washer/dryer - I'd say a must. Mostly for emergency needs (outside of that there aren't many other small loads with our family!) We would plan to use the larger machines at campgrounds weekly.

Split bathroom - a much more ideal set up for 7 people.

Seating: If the price is right, I'm willing to do some modifications inside to accommodate us better. I think the layout we came up with was one full size jack knife sofa, 4 set dinette, and then either a pull out love seat or an additional u-shaped dinette. We like the additional dinette idea because it gives us more table space for eating, school and card/board games.

Sleeping: While the above seating arrangements would also give us good sleeping space, I am interested in the idea of having bunks drop from the ceiling.

Slides: A must

So, I am interested to hear what your thoughts are on any makes and models I should look at. Thanks in advance for all the help!

To give you an example, there's a 2001 Tiffin Allegro Bus about a hour from me that I went and looked at. 70k miles, Cummins 350. 8k generator. Not a bad looking rig. They're asking $60k, I would consider offering $50k.

If this had a slide(s), I'd probably jump on it:
1992 Newell 4 Bunk Coach For Sale - Panterra Coach

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Old 08-19-2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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Good luck with your search.

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Old 08-19-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
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Welcome to iRV2! One consideration that is not on your list is seating with seat belts while driving. I would think at least 4 of the children would need to be in child seats or boosters and as far as I know these are only made for forward facing seats. Just something else to consider.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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I would like to suggest that you take the whole family with you so that you when you look for a unit. That way you can sample all the facility's and work out sleeping arrangements.
We have a 34 foot unit for the wife and I. Took the granddaughter with us to the mountains and found a whole new bunch of challenges. But it did work out. But we were only three and the grand daughter is 10.
I would take your time and visit some local campsites and talk to people with family's.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Length: 40+ maybe hard to find on 75K

first things first go rent a big RV for a weekend

you can rent some high end RVs for just a few days and take every one out
see what it takes to keep food toys school work and all moving on the road

that well give you the most info you could ever want
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:49 PM   #6
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We all go when looking. Guess I wrote that wrong on the OP. The kids are all very excited!

I should also point out that we are in no rush and probably won't make a move for another year, maybe even 2. If the deal of a lifetime comes along, well, then I'll have to consider that.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:19 AM   #7
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interesting challenge. sleeping is one of the problems I see. In most motorhomes is not that much designated sleeping space. There are some coaches with bunk beds that might help you some. If you get double two slides for front room area then you can do air mattresses on the floor to help with sleeping. You are going to have to go with a 40 foot and probably with 4 slides. Most coaches I have seen smaller than 40 foot have a chair on one side and a couch on the other. some 40 foot have couch on one side and love seat on other that would give you sitting room while traveling. I do not know about various coaches but I know my tiffin and a few others I have seen have signs saying not for use while moving on the dinette set. Split bathrooms is going to be hard tiffin has a seperate bathroom sink in the bedroom. You almost have to get to a 42 or 45 to get a bath and a half. What are you going to use for traveling when the RV is parked.
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:37 AM   #8
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You are going to get the most sleeping space in used entertainer tour buses. Look for older early 90's models. They will not have slides but will have plenty of power to tow and plenty of bunks for sleeping. I have 6 kids and seriously considered this type of unit. Instead I bought a 02 Newmar Dutch Star 3852, I can only sleep 5 but my two oldest sons are in college. It has a queen in bedroom and a queen magic bed pullout and a j sofa. If I did it again I would opt for the tour (band) bus. They also have more fuel and water capacity. Look at the bus for sale web site as he seems to specialize in that type of rig. My kids love traveling in the especially my 3 daughters who use the bathroom constantly. Lol. You will be making great memories and it will be wonderful as a learning experience too!
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:47 AM   #9
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My parents have a Prevost so I am very familiar with them. I have gone over the busforsale site many times as well. We came to the conclusion that for now, we'd look for something cheaper that had slides. With 3 of the kids being under 5, we really don't need the dedicated sleeping spaces, we need the living space. As soon as bunks are added, the kitchen and living areas are shrunk. If needed, they can roll out a little foam and use a sleeping bag on the floor (they do this at home anyways sometimes). Any way you slice it, we'll be 'roughing it' to a degree no matter how big we go. We embrace that and will enjoy the adventure.

I did have the thought of taking a coach and making the back room a bunk room and having a nice pull out sofa up front for us. I moved away from that idea when we decided to just get something to get started with and then look into more custom ideas in the future. I had also thought of looking into a large class C toy hauler and converting the garage to a bunk room. I moved away from that idea as well when the few units in the category that would fit our other needs (capacities for water and towing) were above our desired price range. Also, we would lose a lot of basement storage in this type of set up.

Toad: will be either a Honda minivan, Suburban, or passenger van. Its most likely going to be a Suburban.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:10 AM   #10
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I should also add that yes a bath and a half would be great, but I don't see those models fitting into our range right now. A split bath (private toilet) is the most ideal right now. I would probably have a sawdust toilet (basically a 5 gallon bucket with a seat) stored in the shower in the event there's an emergency while someone else was using the toilet.

We live out on a farm in central PA, these sorts of things don't bother us
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:40 PM   #11
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I could do 7 in my rig, a conventional setup, but it wouldn't be convenient. Master bedroom sleeps 2. Dinette "can" sleep 2. Need to be smaller kids. Jacknife sofa can more comfortably do 2. Sofa could do 2 if a hideabed, mine is a J couch.

Realistically your 2Y and 8M wont really need a "bed" for many years.

Our travel trailer had 2 bunk beds, but since we wanted a DP class A there were VERY few bunk bed models available that weren't entry level. Even then, VERY few used, it is a rare model since the typical class A DP demo doesn't have a 2 month old ;-)

Sooo, if looking used you will need to compromise. You may have to employ sleeping bags and such. That being the case look for a model that offers THE MOST living square footage with the slides deployed. Typically that is a 4 slide model so the master bedroom could accommodate a crib and the living area can accommodate an air mattress or bags.

Good luck!

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Old 08-20-2013, 03:52 PM   #12
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See if the PARTRIDGE FAMILY BUS is available?
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:51 PM   #13
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Long time lurker first time poster but I had to register to reply to your thread. We are a family of 7 as well, currently looking to upgrade to a DP from our 31' 1990 Winnebago SuperChief.

My wife and I have been looking since about Feb, taken many trips to shows and had the klds load up, pull out beds, etc. Here is what we have figured out camping for the entire summer in our smaller no slide coach.

I have 3 daughters 13, 9, and 3 and 2 boys, 9 and 6. We have figured out that a queen pullout will sleep our 3 daughters easily and probably will for many years. We have seen some full size jackknifes that could also sleep our 2 boys together for many years or toss one on the jackknife and one in the dinette.

We also thought a bath and a half was a must but after spending 3 months in a single bath coach it isn't so bad. We try to park close to the bathrooms where ever we stop (usually state parks) and the kids go to the bathroom there unless it's after bedtime. This also cuts down on the number of times I have to dump by ALOT lol.

Our budget is about 125k but if it were a bit more I'd jump on the Palazzo 36.1 as it seems to be the ideal setup. Under 40 feet, A queen size hide a bed, large drop down bunk, a large dinette, stacked washer/dryer, bath and a half and lots of closet space!

We are now focusing on early-mid 2000's. 2 or 3 slides depending on if one is a full wall, a queen size sleeper sofa, and either a large dinette or a full size jackknife. We have found getting all the kids into 2 beds allows us to look at a lot more units as there are many that will have either a large jackknife or a large dinette with a queen pullout but not both. We also think a washer/dryer or combo is a must. In the older range this puts us looking at units in the 38-41' range, a bit bigger than we would like but it is what it is.

As for the seatbelt issue etc, not to worry. We had an older Winnebago and the seatbelts were in the dinette. When we moved to our newer Winnebago they were on the couch and the dinette said no passengers. We consulted Winnebago and they stated that was because there were no seatbelts in that location. We had seatbelts installed (professionally by a company certified to install them) and were told it was fine now as the dinette has a metal frame that is bolted to the floor securely.

Sorry for the long winded post, it's great to see another larger family looking to do what we are attempting to do! I'll check back here and will post any new finds I come up with.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:09 AM   #14
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Go to rv.org and buy their product it will be the best $150 you spend on your rv. Read it all then figure out what kind of coach best fits your needs. Then go to oodle.com plug in what you're looing for marke the right buttons and it will send you daily updates. There are a lot o top of the line coaches out there in your price range you just have to figure out what will work for you.
Good Luck happy hunting

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