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Old 07-07-2016, 10:54 AM   #1
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Help us understand how important chassis/ wheel size is...first RV purchase!

My husband and I are shopping for our first RV. We decided on a class A motorhome about a year ago and have been steadily shopping/ researching since then. We are so sick of researching at this point and we want to buy one, get our kids out of the house into the wild world, and move on with our lives!! In a nutshell: we are ready to put our money where our mouth is and buy one!!! Now.
We are looking for an entry- level(ish) price point (msrp 120K-160K), but like spending our money on quality- rather than junk. That being said right now our front runner brand is Newmar (although we have become very familar with many!)- specifically the Bay Star/ Bay Star sport line. They offer a smaller chassis (F-53, triton v-10 with 19.5 wheels-125msrp) on their "sport" line. The fit and finish/ box construction/ options available is about their same as the more pricey line, but the chassis is different (22,000lb, triton v-10, with 22.5 wheels- 155K on Bay Star). Interestingly enough the GCWR is the same for both chassis': 26,000 lbs. Also horse power is the same at 362.

This is our first motorhome. We take good care of our things and keep them for a long time. Money is also very important. The price difference in the end is about 10K- would love to save that money- but not if my husband has to fight the thing going down the road the entire time. By the way- we have three young kids- who are in school 10 months/ year who are involved in sports and different activities. We really don't know how much we will be able to use rv. Planning on 1, 2+ week trip per year and as many 3/4 day local weekend trips per year that we can swing!

Thanks!!
Julie and Travis
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:39 AM   #2
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First, the #1 important thing to consider when choosing a coach to buy is floorplan. You won't care what the chassis is if you don't love living in it for an extended period of time.

Secondly, it might sound like a good idea to buy a "starter" RV, but it almost always doesn't turn out that way. Too big lasts about as long as your first trip; too small lasts forever. You said you take care of things and like to own them for a long time, so buy your third RV first and that's exactly what will happen.

But more than all that, the price point you quoted - $120-$160k - could buy you a whole lot of rig if you investigated the used market instead of trying to squeeze a tiny budget into the new market. My rig is ten times what a brand new Bay Star is and it cost me a lot less than what you're planning on spending. Yeah, it's 12-years old, but you'd never know it by looking at it.

I'm not bragging about my rig, I'm trying to demonstrate how to get a much bigger bang for your buck from just about any well-maintained used coach. If you were buying a new King Aire or something like that, great! But honestly - and I mean no offense to current new-model Bay Star owners - the amount of used rig $140k can buy is so much more than what you get spending only that much on a new rig.

You said you like buying quality - there is so much more used quality out there than what you get with "entry- level(ish)" new rigs that it would be a shame if you don't at least give them a good look.

Just my two cents... worth every penny. Good luck!
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:10 PM   #3
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When we bought ours we spent about two years looking and much like you were getting frustrated. We did our research and ended up buying a little bigger than we intended, and spent a few thousand more than what we were going to. But in the end we bought a MH that we love rather than one that we will just get by with, and are really happy that we just didn't jump into something we would regret. Like said buying small will last forever(or until you sell it to buy bigger, wasting even more money), buying larger will only last the first few trips and soon you will be very happy you went bigger. We bought new because we really wanted new and really didn't find anything in the used market that compared to what we got or was maintained in the condition that I keep my stuff. And we keep our vehicles for a long time so I'm not worried about depreciation as that too is at times over exaggerated.

I would definitely go with the chassis that have the 22.5 tires. With the base price for these MH's to begin with spending a few thousand more will get you a much better floorplan, more amenities, and a MH that you will be much happier with long after you write the check. You see a lot of people buy smaller than what they really want/need, only to sell it a year or two later and buy what they really want. Doing it that way you will lose way more money than you would have spent if you bought the right one the first time.

With the bigger chassis, and 22.5 tires, some benefits will be more Cargo Carrying Capacity, more storage area in the storage bays, and a much better ride. Also when considering the prices you can pretty much count on a 25%-30% +/- discount off the MSRP. So if the MSRP difference is 10K, then it is really only a $7000-$7500 difference which is money well spent. You get what you pay for, and a little extra can make a world of difference.
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:17 PM   #4
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Seems like a big investment if you still have 3 young kids at home
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wryly Blithe View Post
First, the #1 important thing to consider when choosing a coach to buy is floorplan. You won't care what the chassis is if you don't love living in it for an extended period of time.

Secondly, it might sound like a good idea to buy a "starter" RV, but it almost always doesn't turn out that way. Too big lasts about as long as your first trip; too small lasts forever. You said you take care of things and like to own them for a long time, so buy your third RV first and that's exactly what will happen.

But more than all that, the price point you quoted - $120-$160k - could buy you a whole lot of rig if you investigated the used market instead of trying to squeeze a tiny budget into the new market. My rig is ten times what a brand new Bay Star is and it cost me a lot less than what you're planning on spending. Yeah, it's 12-years old, but you'd never know it by looking at it.

I'm not bragging about my rig, I'm trying to demonstrate how to get a much bigger bang for your buck from just about any well-maintained used coach. If you were buying a new King Aire or something like that, great! But honestly - and I mean no offense to current new-model Bay Star owners - the amount of used rig $140k can buy is so much more than what you get spending only that much on a new rig.

You said you like buying quality - there is so much more used quality out there than what you get with "entry- level(ish)" new rigs that it would be a shame if you don't at least give them a good look.

Just my two cents... worth every penny. Good luck!
Completely agree 100%
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:33 PM   #6
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We have 2. Heck, it's the reason we bought one.


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Old 07-07-2016, 12:53 PM   #7
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ROI

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarata View Post
Seems like a big investment if you still have 3 young kids at home
Funny you bring up investments...My husband owns his own successful financial advisory firm. He eats and breathes investments some days. This investment, while questionable on paper (as far a depreciation, equity, maintenance, etc), is a sure thing! It's a no brainer: a sure thing. Our ROI on this RV family memories- which are priceless!!!!
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:55 PM   #8
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Any prior camping or RV'ing experience? For weekend trips & a couple of week long vacations a year, I would also recommend a quality used rig for your first RV. Almost no one gets the first RV purchase right! Have you done a physical walk through on all the motorhomes you're interested in?
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jewels View Post
Funny you bring up investments...My husband owns his own successful financial advisory firm. He eats and breathes investments some days. This investment, while questionable on paper (as far a depreciation, equity, maintenance, etc), is a sure thing! It's a no brainer: a sure thing. Our ROI on this RV family memories- which are priceless!!!!
X2....any investment that brings your family together, even more so with younger kids, is priceless. Our kids still talk about all the camping and boating we did when they were kids and they are now in their mid 30's. Their friends that went with us occasionally all still talk about those trips when we all get together. All of those kids turned out pretty good and are successful in life today. I would think that someone who would make that kind of comment that it's not a good investment probably doesn't have kids.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:44 PM   #10
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Julie and Travis,
May seem like we are all piling on, but it's only because we care and have all been there, done that and got two, three, or four motorhomes in our history to show for it! I am truly astonished as I travel around the country at how many motorhomes my fellow RVers have been through.

We bought our first one after similar research. However, when we finally pulled the trigger, I really felt like all the exhaustive research paid off. We knew good from bad, and knew what we wanted (or sure thought we did!) We went with used and bought the most we could afford. Sure glad we did.

We had a great three years with our first coach, but learned over several years of short trips what parts of RVing were really important to us, and what shortfalls our current coach had. That information really shaped our decision when we decided we had to upgrade and buy another coach that we would be comfortable in full-timing.

Our second coach was also used. We love Holiday Ramblers and this newer one had everything on our "must have" and the vast majority of our "really would like to have" items. And because we were trading used for used, we felt like we better understood what the true total cost was to upgrade...and we have never looked back.

Not only do you avoid the initial depreciation hit on a new coach, you can afford a better, bigger coach for the same money and end up with a slightly used coach that has most of the bugs worked out it by the original owner.

No matter what your decision is, I am sure you and your family will have a great time!
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:59 PM   #11
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Not only do you avoid the initial depreciation hit on a new coach, you can afford a better, bigger coach for the same money and end up with a slightly used coach that has most of the bugs worked out it by the original owner.
Not always necessarily true. True you can get a larger coach but better may be questionable. While there are lots of gently used premium models there are also some that have been placed on the market to get out of the problems the original owner was encountering.

Even doing due diligence can be problematic. For example Mr_D drove his coach less than 2500 miles before the engine packed it in. While Cummins stepped up the cost was significant for him. Somewhere out there is a King Aire that was taken back by the factory because of a water spill that caused damage to the electrics.

Major issue is Floor Plan as suggested above. Find the coach that works for you. Ditch the salesman, and have the family sit in various coaches for an hour. Pretend it is raining and you are not able to get out. What is everyone going to do? Can they do it without or minor inconvenience to everyone else. Can you prepare a meal while they are entertaining themselves? If the kids have to go to bed can you watch a movie or the big game?

As pointed out more people change because the floor plan does not work than all of the rest of the problems with house and chassis.
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:13 PM   #12
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The floor plan and water capacity were the 2 most important items to us when purchasing our RV. And buying used is very good advice if you can find a used RV with the floor plan and capacity in the condition you want. As far as wheels, we bought a RV with 19.5" wheels and use our RV much the way you plan on to. We both still work and can only get out on weekends and vacations. I happen to think the 19.5" wheeled RV fits our life style very well. We don't drive more than a day away from our home when on vacations because my idea of a good vacation is not spending it behind a steering wheel. I'm sure the ride is smoother with an RV that has bigger wheels but not that much better when most of the time we don't travel for more than a few hours at a time. And I carry a spare with me, most of those with 22.5" wheels don't, and I just bought new tires all around and I know I didn't spend as much as I would have with 22.5" wheels. After we retire we are going to see if we want to full time and if so we will upgrade to 22.5" wheels and maybe even a diesel. But for now the floor plan and water capacity were the 2 most important items to us when buying our RV. And our RV fills those 2 needs very well.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wryly Blithe View Post
First, the #1 important thing to consider when choosing a coach to buy is floorplan. You won't care what the chassis is if you don't love living in it for an extended period of time.

Secondly, it might sound like a good idea to buy a "starter" RV, but it almost always doesn't turn out that way. Too big lasts about as long as your first trip; too small lasts forever. You said you take care of things and like to own them for a long time, so buy your third RV first and that's exactly what will happen.

But more than all that, the price point you quoted - $120-$160k - could buy you a whole lot of rig if you investigated the used market instead of trying to squeeze a tiny budget into the new market. My rig is ten times what a brand new Bay Star is and it cost me a lot less than what you're planning on spending. Yeah, it's 12-years old, but you'd never know it by looking at it.

I'm not bragging about my rig, I'm trying to demonstrate how to get a much bigger bang for your buck from just about any well-maintained used coach. If you were buying a new King Aire or something like that, great! But honestly - and I mean no offense to current new-model Bay Star owners - the amount of used rig $140k can buy is so much more than what you get spending only that much on a new rig.

You said you like buying quality - there is so much more used quality out there than what you get with "entry- level(ish)" new rigs that it would be a shame if you don't at least give them a good look.

Just my two cents... worth every penny. Good luck!
Xs 3!!
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:22 PM   #14
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I would point out that when comparing the Ford F53 V10 engine performance. It doesn't matter which brand coach, or length, or chassis wt. rating you choose. Your dealing with the same power output rating spec on the engine. As you pointed out. So shorter and lighter is better...as far as how coach will perform. So from GVWR of 16,000# to 26000# the HP and torque is the same. One big factor is the 2016 F53 has a 6 speed trans. Depending how you plan on using your coach, you may find a used diesel (DP) a better choice. On our forth coach and third DP. Looking back at our first coach, which was a gasser. Knowing what I know now, we would have got a DP right off, but hey, live and learn. Good luck

https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas...16_F53_F59.pdf
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