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Old 11-16-2009, 10:50 AM   #1
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First time buyer Needs advice

Hello everyone,

I am in the market for my first motorhome and I must say it is a little overwhelming with all there is to choose from.

I guess I will start by giving my requirements and you experts can chime in with your years of experience.

I am looking at 28-35' class A and C for myself, wife, and 9 month old daughter. I will be towing a 12' enclosed trailer behind so it will need to capable of towing around 6k lbs. I don't like the idea of a load this large in the mountains, so my plan is to avoid them altogether if that is possible... esp in the winter months.

My main concern looking at numerous makes and models already, is there any I should avoid? I am looking at the Minnie Winnie's Four Winds, Gulfstream, Georgia Boy, just to name a few. I haven't seen them in person since there are no large dealers in my area, so all of my research has been online, so its hard to tell the quality from pictures. There seems to be many good deals in this market, and it appears to be an excellent time to buy.

Do most of you prefer Class A's over C's? I am experienced with Buses and trucks of all shapes and sizes, so I am comfortable driving anything.

Your advice is much appreciated.

Cheers
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. You will find a wealth of information here if you poke around a bit.

In my opinion, the first criteria is to insure whatever you buy will tow your trailer and remain within specs. A 6,000 lb load will eliminate many coaches since they have a hitch that is rated at 5,000 lbs. That factored with the combined weight limit of the coach and trailer will narrow your search. Safety needs to be your primary concern and you should NEVER tow beyond the weight limits of your coach and hitch.

I'm sure you will get much advice from other members....good luck!
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:37 PM   #3
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Towing that much would neccesitate a Class A DP. It would be the best for that purpose plus a better ride and handling and brakes. You don't mention what your budget is so it's kinda hard to help you with a recommendation. I'd suggest you go to rv trader and put in your requirements as to dollars, size and diesel. It will bring up all of the units available in your criteria. You will not have any problem in the mountains and you're probably right about avoiding them in the winter months.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:48 PM   #4
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Hi ljh815,
Welcome to iRV2. Where do you reside? There are many RV shows around the country. Consider attending one of them. The cost of attending will be more than recouped by having all the manufactures in one place at one time. The Tampa RV Super Show, in Tampa, Florida is an example. It is held mid-January every year.

Like Jim28730 said your first step is to narrow the search to coaches that will tow to your requirements. You can do this via the manufacturers web sites. Consider looking at the Newmar Bay and Canyon Star coaches. Go to Newmar Corporation – Motorhomes Overview | Newmar RV to take a look. Not all floor plans will meet your towing requirements, but there are several to choose from. This keeps you with a gas engine, in a class "A" coach.

After you make the list of coaches coaches that will tow what you have, then floor plan will sell the coach. The floor plan choice is a very personal decision. Unfortunately, nobody can help you with the best floor plan choice.

One last thought. Purchase from a manufacturer that will be in business. I recommend Newmar not only because I own one, but because they borrow no $s, build only coaches that are sold and own all their physical plant assets. They have an excellent service reputation.
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:32 PM   #5
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With a 9-month-old baby, you definitely want some slide outs so you have floor space for a porta-crib. Although motorhomes are kid-friendly, many are not toddler-safe with stair wells that small ones can fall into and sharp edges under dinette tables. We bought a motorhome when my now overgrown 9th grader was 3. If there was something unsafe in that class C, little Joe found it.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input.

I think we may have narrowed it down to a 30-34 Class A with the ford Chassis and V-10 engine.

We really like the layout and price of this one, but not sure how to go about finding the towing specs since it is a 99 model? Do I just need to look for UVW and combined? What about adding a hitch with more capacity? A dealer also mentioned that adding airbags can increase towing? Doesn't make sense to me.

1999 damon challenger 330 class A large slide low miles:eBay Motors (item 260500301416 end time Nov-08-09 16:12:16 PST)
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:21 AM   #7
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RVTHERE, I've lost a lot of bark to the knife-edges that seem to be everywhere in an RV. Seem like sharks sometimes as they smell the blood and attack multiple times in one day!!
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:39 AM   #8
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First time buying is a mountain to climb indeed. As mentioned above, establish criteria needs (ballpark), establish budget (think high). Generally, get the bigest, newest thing you can afford. A diesel pusher (DP) is recommended for most applications. They have the power, the tow capacity, the space and the cargo capacity. However, they also are the most costly and most costly to maintain. Motorhome rules are: "You get what you paid for" is exaclty true. Short changing will leave you short of something. At the end of course, only you can decide what's best for your family. Be very careful about buying used. Check out the dealers and find a reputable business. Ask a lot of questions. Take your time and shop around.

Get an extended warranty (a must). Don't forget about insurance cost, RV park cost, maintenance cost, fuel cost, etc etc etc. I prefer a class "A" over a Class "C" anyday since riding in the front of a class "C" is like riding in the front of a pickup truck, whereas, rinding in the Class "A" is open, roomy, captain chairs, etc and the cost is close to the same for a given size. When in doubt, take both for a test drive. Ask someone who has owned both.

Several RV manufactures have gone belly-up, are going belly-up or just coming out of bankruptcy. You should be able to get 25%-30% off the MSRP (EASILY) in today's RV sales market. NOBODY pays retail or even close.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:39 AM   #9
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Here is a link to Damon's website... You can pull up the info you need.

Damon Product Comparison
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:01 PM   #10
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Hi ljh815,
When looking for towing capability, there are two things to check.
1. The hitch will have a label as to its capacity.
2. Take the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) and subtract the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Which ever is less is how much you can tow. My assumption is you will not overload the coach with your "stuff". The owner or the manufacturer should have this information. Does the coach have its' documentation?

Adding air bags will not increase towing capability. They help with ride quality and load carrying (not towing) capability. Adding a hitch with more capacity will not help to increase towing capability. Towing capability is built into the chassis, engine, drive train, brakes, etc.

The coach will have all sorts of load/towing maximums. Total, axle, hitch, tires, brakes, etc. They all work together to keep the occupants safe.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:09 PM   #11
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According to Damons website, the 330 has a GVWR of 18k lbs with the ford chassis, and a base weight of 13900. Does this mean it can carry 4100 lbs or carry and tow a maximum of 4100? Don't most list a gross combined weight?
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:20 PM   #12
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Hi ljh815,
You have one of the numbers GVWR of 18K. You need the other number, GCWR. Gut feel says the 13.9 number is the UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight). It looks like you have 4.1K of NCC (net carrying capacity). Your not there yet on the towing capability. GCWR and the hitch rating is what you need to understand the towing capability.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
I think we may have narrowed it down to a 30-34 Class A with the ford Chassis and V-10 engine.
Later model F53 Ford's with V10 have a 26,000 lb GCWR but as I recall the 1999 was around 22,000. Not sure of that, though. It also probably has a hitch receiver rated at 5000 lbs.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:41 PM   #14
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Try getting the RVCG guides

I would suggest joining the RVCG group. They have a website and I have been a member for years. I just bought a motor home and I bought their two CDs that review almost every motorhome made from 1993-2009. In Jan their 2010 guide is out. After really looking IMHO their guides are the best that are for sale. They have a whole bunch of objective information that is important in narrowing down what you want to buy in a motor home.

For example their guide will quickly tell you the hitch capacity and towing capability. This is information you look like you need from your post.

If you are thinking C class I think you are going to need to go super C to tow so much. Their are sturdy chassis with a diesel motor. Or class A diesel pushers. I think you may be trying to tow too much to utilize a gas motor. I am sure a gas motor would work in the flatlands, but not well in the mountains. When looking a diesel pushers 36' is the minimum for a good handling coach. That is because you need a long enough chassis length to balance out the house size. That generally works for Dps over 36'. Super Cs can be shorter.

By FAR a DP is going to be a more luxurious ride. Super Cs are great sturdy vechicles but not the same as a DP. Test drive some things to find out for yourself.
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