Originally Posted by Roamin Mike
Hi all. New to the Forum. My significant other and I will be going full time around the beginning of 2016. We know we want a used Class A diesel pusher, but nothing too big (maybe 32-35 ft). Anybody have any suggestions on a good, reliable coach? Also, we plan on towing a 4door Jeep Wrangler. Should I have any concerns with towing power?
Well, you don't say what your possible price range would/could be. That will dictate the combination year/model/length that you can go after. Obviously a bit older CAN lend itself to be NICER, depending on a few things. Newer, will be more costly and, you may have to limit preferences due to the newer age.
So, with all that being said, I don't know your RV experience(s) so, just what will appeal to you in earlier models/floor plans/colors etc., only you will be able to tell. Smaller coaches have some advantages. Say, around 32-34' Diesel pushers, for one, are a bit rare but, not always and, will be a bit more forgiving when it comes to handling in RV parking spots/campsites etc.
There are some state and Federal campgrounds that supposedly have limits on RV length. We've been to a few like that and, the "limit lengths" have not prevailed, we've seen coaches in spots that were supposed to be for smaller, shorter coaches and, were filled with way larger ones. The smaller diesels, as in around 32' have reportedly had handling issues like "Porpoising" (a bit of waving up and down) as you travel certain roadways and highways due to engine weight in the back and not too much to counter that weight up front so, you get that effect, once in a while.
I've driven a few of those 32' units and, never experienced any of that effect. And, the smaller the coach, the more curtailed the floor plan is. If you go out and inspect some 36' units and, like what you see, then go into 34' coaches of the same brand/year/model, you'll see what I'm talking about.
If you go into the smaller ones first, then head into some larger ones, as in 36' or a bit larger, you'll be amazed at what an extra couple of feet brings you. There's all kinds of brands, makes, models, years to choose from out there in the used RV world. Many have been well taken care of and some, have been drug through war zones. Smaller ones may come with limited battery banks and inverters while larger ones, would have larger battery banks and, larger inverters and/or, Inverter/chargers (for charging house battery banks while being plugged into shore power or, generator operations.
There's lots to consider here. A smart move would be to attend and RV sales event near you so you can meander in and out continuously and, not have to travel to the ends of the world and forget what you've seen so far. And, while some might think it would be "odd", I'd take along a camera to help keep your memory straight. That way, you and the S/O can sit down quietly in your own home and, go over what you've seen up to that point without some sales idiot pressing you.
As for mileage on a diesel, not really a problem, no matter how much you encounter in a particular coach. About 99.99% of the diesels in these coaches are way under in mileage, of their capability. Of course, it's always nice if you can be presented with some form of maintenance copies or schedules that have been done on a coach you're interested in. Maintenance on a diesel is not all that bad, contrary to popular belief.
Yes, the oil pans are a bit larger and, there's sometimes TWO fuel filters so, if and when it comes down to some standard maintenance, it will be a tad bit higher in cost. The brakes on most diesel pushers will go a minimum of 100K or more, simply due to the fact that there's usually an EXHAUST BRAKE or, a JAKE BRAKE (also known as a "compression brake") installed in/on those coaches which, helps tremendously in braking during long down grades or, even around town.
But, if those auxiliary braking systems have been used properly, that will extend your service interval for your regular brakes to way beyond 100,000 miles and, even up to 150,000 or more. Well, there's a bit more but, I've tried to give you at least something to think about in your search. Good luck in your hunt.
P.S. I forgot to mention, towing a 4-door Jeep will, for the most part, not be a problem for even your shorter diesels. We towed 7 different Jeeps for over 25 years, with 4 different coaches. Two class Cs, and two Class As. The first three were gas coaches and, handled the Jeeps admirably. Our present coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, does just great with anything we put behind it. If you're speaking of the late model "JK" four-door, I suspect that the actual weight of one of those hovers real close to around 4500 - 4900 lbs., just a guess. Most Jeep towers way under-estimate just how much they're towing until they get it ACTUALLY WEIGHED. They go by whatever book says it weighs. WRONG! Go get it weighed so you'll know for certain. And, if and when you do get it weighed, FILL IT UP WITH FUEL prior to driving it on the scales.