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Old 12-16-2014, 06:10 PM   #1
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Help looking for coaches... $40-$50k price range... suggestions and opinions?

Hi everyone! First post here but I'm not new to forums... sorry for not posting an intro thread in the welcome forum, but I'll be doing that once I actually do own a motorhome!

Anyway, I'm still several months away from getting one, but I've been doing a lot of research and a lot of online browsing... Right now, I've narrowed down two these two units:

2005 Itasca Suncruiser 35U
2005+ Fleetwood Southwind 32V

Really love the 35U floorplan... I think it's my favorite I've seen. I've also found the Southwind 32V to my liking.

Here's what I'm really looking for:

Full Body Paint (absolutely necessary)
Fiberglass roof (would be nice but not a deal breaker)
Less than 35-36'. Larger than 30'.
2 slide outs.

I really like the fancier trim options on the Itasca over the Winnie for 2005.

I really only have a budget of up to about $50k, plan on full-timing it for a few years, plan on setting it up with lithium and solar because I'm an energy hog and want free night time heating, full desktop computer running and add a drop down large screen tv over the drivers compartment...

I want a luxury coach that is still nice and shiny and looks new on the outside... the interior is less of a concern cause I'm a contractor and can do finish and wood work. I just want something that I can be proud of and can't afford a $70-$80k DP that fits the bill.

I hear the Workhorse is what you want to get, but I also hear that they're also heavy and close to max weight before you even put anything in them.

So, any opinions on either coach or perhaps a suggestion as to others that I should look at?

Anyway, any opinions or comments are appreciated!

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Old 12-16-2014, 06:31 PM   #2
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You should be able to find a good coach in that price range, age, etc. Suggest to check out Fleetwood Pace Arrow as well, usually higher end gas coaches. As for ford vs workhorse there are many threads here. I would not get hung up on one or the other. Both have pluses and minuses but get the job done.

You are doing the right thing by zeroing in on a preferred coach and floor plan and search till you find the one at the right condition and value.

Only question I have in your comments would be regarding heating with battery/solar power. If thinking of electric heating with such would take a huge system for the power needed.

Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:28 PM   #3
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Your wish list is a great start. We included double pane windows, dinette (no booth), 3 slides and as long as possible. Craig's list was where we went doing neighboring states as we were willing to go 1,000 miles to get what we wanted. Other national web sites were instructive to "see what was out there" and at what price. Also the deal had to include an inspection by Camper's World or equivalent place. Got an '05 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 37' gas in your price range. 2K mi into our first snowbird trip, love it. Good luck with your search. Be patient, there are a LOT of rigs out there, many will fit your wish list.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:42 AM   #4
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Look at some late 90's to early 2000 Beaver Coaches. You can find really nice rigs in that price range. I'm looking at an older 96 and it still looks great...
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:29 AM   #5
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With 50K being your ceiling, you should still be able to find a quality diesel pusher that's been well taken care of. I'd check with www.pplmotorhomes.com , they have a place on their web site that lists what used coach's have sold for. If your not familiar with them, they're a huge consignment dealer in Texas.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:33 AM   #6
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Welcome. I had a 01 Chieftain 35u and fully understand and agree on your liking this layout. It served me well for 63,000 miles to 49 States and all 10 Canadian Provinces.
Good luck

Cliff,Tallulah and Buddy ( 1999-2012 )
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:12 AM   #7
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Bottom line is how you are going to use the coach. We like boondocking and older parks that tend to have limited access to large RVs.

We too wanted a MH for less than $50k and less than 35 ft. After a year, found our floorplan and liked the extras in the Itasca. We spent much less, put about $2k in upgrades, and are still happy after 14 months of full-timing. The only wish being a king-sized bed. Never saw a 32 footer with a king though.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:24 AM   #8
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The 05 Southwind 32V has a Tuff-Ply or TPO roof.
99 Discovery 34Q ISB
2014 MKS AWD EcoBoost Toad
Fulltime Since "99"
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:13 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for all the replies... I can't comment them all but I'll reply to as much as I can...

Dual pane windows are important. Overlooked that one. I know the Itasca has them, not sure about the Southwind. I really don't want to go below 2005. I know the older they get the more service and maintenance they require and most of the cars I've owned have problems with plastics when approaching the 20 year mark. So I may pay a little extra for something newer.

I have been looking at the Pace Arrows, there is one model that's nearly identical to the 35U, so I've been keeping my eye out... there's a couple of newer Winnies like the Voyage, Vista... With the lesser models I may be able to afford something newer which is always appealing. I've seen a couple of 07 Southwinds a little over my budgeted price range that look really nice and have full body paint.

I have been keeping my eye on a few others... Gulf Stream, Holiday Ramblers and Monacos, but from everything I've read I'm probably best off with a Winnie or Fleetwood for parts and service.

As for a DP, I'd really need to get lucky on a No Reserve ebay listing that could have anything wrong with them to get the features I want. I'd like that but not sure if I'm willing to take the gamble.

And I'm willing to go as far as it takes to get the 'right' coach at the right price. Gas is coming down so a few extra days of travel aren't a concern. There are a lot of coaches in the price range I'm looking at, but most of them are priced higher than they should be and seem to have been sitting around longer.

Oh I have one massive pet peeve... "non-smoking and no pet unit". To this day, after looking at thousands of listings in the past 3-4 months, I've never seen someone actually say "we're smokers and have pets". I'll probably be getting a dog so I'm actually looking for a lower priced unit. Too bad there isn't a search term at rvt or ebay.

Also, I get the impression that on rvt a lot of people don't actually remove a sold listing, is this true?

Oh, Boondocking... as for my 'heating' comment. I didn't mean running a furnace all night long, more like a small heater fan or oil radiator. At the very least I'll be getting the Go Power 480w panel system (ideally I want more as that system is limited to 3 panels) and a 600-800ah Lithium with plans to add another 600-800ah Lithium shortly after. I haven't started measuring my in-home usage, but I'm fairly certain that I'll be ok with at least 1200ah of Lithium... which is equivalent to what... over 2000ah of gels? I am setting aside $10k to make sure I have good off-grid power.
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:04 AM   #10
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We just bought an 06 Winnebago Sightseer 29r. Its just a tad under 30' 2 slides, great storage inside and out. We paid 35k with 6 brand new tires and color back up monitor. Couldn't be happier....
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R Special Edition
2001 Ford F150 4x4
Us (Bob and shaz) plus (5 dogs)
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:28 AM   #11
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Exciting times, when in the hunt for a new rig!! And do it the way you want to - as it is your money being spent!

That being said, I always recommend that those in the hunt for a new rig, prepare a list of 'Must Have's' and 'Nice to Have's. Breaking this down into mechanical vs interior. We put this into a spread sheet, and gave 2 points to each of the Must Have's and one 1 point to each of the Nice to Have's. And each of us were allowed to reward up to 5 points, on up to five items. (For example, I wanted side radiator, so gave that 5 points. The DW wanted a large galley, so she gave that 5 points, etc.). This way when you are walking thru and inspecting coaches, you can keep a tally that will help you compare coaches a bit more impartially.

I also will give you my opinion that if you are going to add up to $10K into a solar panel battery bank combination, do in a rig that is of a quality level that warrants this.

IMO, drop years to remain within budget, while buying the highest quality coach that meets your needs. Quality lasts. Your in construction, so you understand the importance of a good foundation. With a good foundation, minor interior modifications can be made to turn a coach into 'what you like'.

Gas vs DP's comes up frequently, and to each their own. But when it comes to a solid foundation, hard to beat a DP to build off of for the long haul. They usually provide larger capacities of tanks (water/grey/black/propane). They usually also have superior insulation. And the rode and comfort and handling of a good quality 36' DP, will bring more smiles to your miles. And if you can get by with a 36' one slide coach, you can find some very good quality older DP's well within your budget.

Good luck on your quest, and even though I've given my $.02 about considering a DP - do what is right for you and if that is a gasser - GO FOR IT!!

Best to you, and all,

Roo II is our 04 Country Coach Allure 40'
OnDRoad for The JRNY! Enjoy life...
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