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Old 03-08-2016, 11:52 AM   #1
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Hoping to purchase a Class A in next few months...

We have somewhat of a budget set for buying a Diesel pusher motorhome, and in doing research, I, like everyone else want to get the 'best for my buck'. Many, unsure quite why it is, don't like to say anything nasty about brand/model A, for fear of hurting someone's feelings who have one, or to think someone may argue the reason that they are wrong....but there are those of us out here that would like to hear such information!
I'm at a point where I'm ready to buy, and have come up with a couple of brands/models I like, and like everyone, my budget puts us into one or two X 'year' models, and of course the one we would like (mainly because of specific options came out) that we'd like in the slightly newer model!
It would be nice to hear things like..."I wouldn't buy one lower than such and such a year" or "Engine X sure is nicer than Y" (CAT and Cummins will suffice over any others thanks).
I tend to like a unit where 'more' horsepower is better, as I'm not one to enjoy holding up vehicles on those long mountainous climbs while pulling my loaded 18' enclosed trailer with toys, or vehicle! Add to that, I have my current pickup truck with over 500 HP...why can't they give more motorhomes similar power?
I'll add, the two brands I've been watching more than others, mainly for their floorpans, but with hopes of longevity...are Tiffin models (Phaeton mainly) and Newmar. I'm open to others if they pass the ability to give me the same longevity these two will, plus have favourable floorpans for the wife & I.
Still not sure, being new to retirement if we'll consider going for long periods (months at a time) as we are quite close to our kids/grandkids, but I'm sure many of you have gone through the same thinking!
We've 'camped' all our lives, going through slide in campers, trailers, and even living out of just a canopy on the pickup for 6 weeks back when we where younger, but now life has moved on, and it's time to relax, and enjoy meeting those of you 'like minded' folks, at a similar point in life!
Now, back to reality...getting a Class A motorhome to fit our needs! I'm not apt to like the 'lighter' cabinetry (honey oak?), I keep asking myself...since I'm not a huge sports fan...do I really need an outside tv? I heard something about an 'in motion' satellite system....now that perked my interest, as I'm a fan of having internet more than television, so I can 'research' everything under the sun! [emoticon]
I keep looking at unit's of 36 feet, but would a 40 be better? Not sure on the hinderance of 'longer is better' when it comes to getting an RV site at some places? Especially if/when towing!
My wife keeps reminding me, of the many costs of ownership, with regard to maintenance (I currently do all my own pickup truck maintenance), fuel, RV/camp site costs, cell phone, insurance and on and on...but hey, it's that point in life, so...so be it!
Rubber, Fiberglass or ? roof...or are there many options there? Is an oven really needed, if you have a convection microwave? Is there a great difference between a Freightliner and Spartan chassis? Do all motorhomes in this realm, have walk around beds?
Is there a particular washer/dryer unit, that is better than another, and are those one's that 'do it all' really work better than the dual washer/dryer?
Do most motorhomes come with Bluetooth radio, so you can do the 'hands free' on your cell phone, AND do they have the MP3 ability, as I prefer to use my own 'burned' CD's with my own music, over the 'bought' CD's (love my tunes).
What year do the 'power' awnings come out, and the power front shade as well?
With regard to the televisions, I often will some older motorhomes with 'older' looking tv's, so when did they start coming out with the newer flat LED screens, or is it just better to get a unit, and then do your own tv upgrading?
Oddly, I happen to see a lot of motorhomes that are having 'upgraded' home type fridges installed...are there particular makes that aren't up to snuff on longevity, or is there another reason?
I see 'air horn' as an option on some...or do all Class A's have one?
What is the MCD shade upgrade...as I sometimes quickly see that as something someone has upgraded?
Twelve volt, or 6 volt batteries...is it really that big a deal?
The one BIG thing to us, of which I very rarely see as an option, is Solar Panels! That's a no brainer to us, as keeping one's batteries charged while boon docking is a must to us, yet I'm seeing very few motorhomes 'with' a solar panel system installed? Is it the extra cost, or do most folks just not boondock?
Full body paint seems to be a mainstay, but is this something one needs to watch for, and are they are to keep up, to look new?
We haven't yet got out and done much in the way of doing a 'walk around' on motorhomes, but 'odd odours' is something that would have me turned around in an instant when walking into a unit. I would imagine one extremely important thing to watch for is a leaky roof, of which can be hidden if not watching for it, and bacteria can start smelling over time as well, but I haven't read anywhere, where this has been a terrible issue?
We live in western Canada, with lots of rain, so this is an important issue to us.
Dinet with chairs, or is a slide in type nook better, or is this just personal preference?

Sorry for so many questions, as I'm sure even more will come to mind over the next while, but I'm hoping to be as thorough as possible...so I don't end up with a succession of regrets.

Thanks in advance on any advice/suggestions you can share, as it's appreciated!

Dale
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:54 PM   #2
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What is your budget and what model years are you looking at?

Seeing as you are in Canada, Triple E built a very good quality coach but they are only available up to 2010 model year.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:00 PM   #3
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Wow, that's quit a list!
As to solar option: our Magna has it, 400 watts and something over $6,000. Probably not a popular option at that price.
6V vs 12V: depends on your use. If parked in a campground most of the time, then no. If boondocking more than hooked up to shore power, then yes.
Have never seen a need for an outside TV for us.
We've had both CAT and Cummins, all but the present ISX have been great with no problems. The high HP ISX we have, not so good.
Up until we got the Magna we've had Dometic refers, now have a Jenn Air home unit and it's doing fine so far.
Won't have a RV without full body paint, just so much easier to take care of and looks nicer too.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:14 PM   #4
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You've asked a lot of questions in one post and you'll get a lot of answers, but the problem is, you are looking at definitive answers to subjective questions. There are very few absolutes in RVing. For instance, I like a fiberglass roof, but there are lots of people with a rubber roof and no issues as well as people with a fiberglass roof with plenty of issues.

I suggest you do a search of the forum for each question you have mentioned and read, read, read. At the end of that you'll have a lot of information, but probably no definitive answers. You'll have to do your own evaluation and make up your own mind.

I like Monaco, Country Coach and Newmar. Tiffin has a good reputation too, but I never warmed up to them. We decided early on to not look at Winnebago. Personal preference really. What do you like?

I've had two diesel pickups with Cummins engines and I'm partial to something I'm familiar with, but CAT is good too.

Except for Newmar, you get whatever chassis comes with the brand and model you decide to buy. Monaco coaches come with at least three different kind of Roadmaster chassis. Country Coach comes with a Gillig or Dynamax depending on year. With Newmar you can look for a freightliner chassis with Cat engine or Spartan chassis with Cummins. The Spartan chassis had issues with ball joints in the years we were looking at so that eliminated most of the Newmar coaches out there unless the owner had done the repair.

We were looking at 36 feet, but ended up with 40 footer and couldn't be happier.

I like a hard surface roof such as aluminum or fiberglass. In my mind, harder is better, but the aluminum roof normally has a seam down the middle because it's two pieces and has more places to leak.

We rarely put out an awning so power awnings wouldn't be something we'd like to pay for.

You'll have a hard time finding a coach with a real gas oven and the newer the coach, the more likely it is to have a microwave/convection oven

Norcold, a common OEM fridge, has a bad reputation. Do a lot of research on this.

Any older coach is going to need an entertainment center upgrade unless it's been done. Our 2000 model came with two HD TVs a CD, DVD, TV satellite dish, satellite radio and surround sound system. We got lucky.

Most class A's we saw had air horns. A lot of them had water stains around the air horn location because they leak if you don't take care of them. They sound cool.

We don't have power shades, but are exploring the possibility of adding them in the future. They make driving in to the sun easier on the eyes.

We explored solar panels, but mounting the permanently to the roof won't work for us since we camp in parks are are frequently in the shade. They also add another hole in the roof to leak.

Six volt batteries give you more storage capacity which is great for boondocking. We don't do that much so it was a bonus for us. Our coach is rarely unplugged when we're not moving though.

We like chairs and not a dinette. Personal preference really. Do you like coke or root beer?

We pulled the washer/dryer combo out of the coach within a week of buying it. Everybody has preferences, but we'd rather walk into a laundromat and use four washing machines at the same time and be done with it in an hour. The PO said it took 3 hours to wash and dry a load in our combo unit---too long for us.

Full body paint is a fairly recent development and more desirable in my opinion. We have it on ours only because the coach was painted by the PO.

The single most important consideration for us was the CONDITION of the coach. Almost everything else can be fixed, replaced, removed or otherwise worked around. There are a lot of leaky coaches out there with mold and rotten walls and floors.

Do your homework, be patient and be ready to pounce when the right one comes a long. Good luck.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:35 PM   #5
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My Newmar has a 330 Cummins and I wouldn't go any lower than that.

Especially if you like doing some of your own maintenance, a side radiator is a must. With the radiator off to the side, it's so easy to access most things on that engine without going through your back bed. I'm also a huge fan of residential refrigerators. They cool better and if you want them to run going down the road, hook them to an inverter and run off your battery bank. I would consider it a negative if the coach didn't have a residential refrigerator. In fact I think Dometic is about to come out with a residential model for RV's (although I bet it's a lot more spendy than the one you can buy at Home Depot but probably built more for the road).
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barmcd View Post
You've asked a lot of questions in one post and you'll get a lot of answers, but the problem is, you are looking at definitive answers to subjective questions. There are very few absolutes in RVing. For instance, I like a fiberglass roof, but there are lots of people with a rubber roof and no issues as well as people with a fiberglass roof with plenty of issues.

I suggest you do a search of the forum for each question you have mentioned and read, read, read. At the end of that you'll have a lot of information, but probably no definitive answers. You'll have to do your own evaluation and make up your own mind.

I like Monaco, Country Coach and Newmar. Tiffin has a good reputation too, but I never warmed up to them. We decided early on to not look at Winnebago. Personal preference really. What do you like?

I've had two diesel pickups with Cummins engines and I'm partial to something I'm familiar with, but CAT is good too.

Except for Newmar, you get whatever chassis comes with the brand and model you decide to buy. Monaco coaches come with at least three different kind of Roadmaster chassis. Country Coach comes with a Gillig or Dynamax depending on year. With Newmar you can look for a freightliner chassis with Cat engine or Spartan chassis with Cummins. The Spartan chassis had issues with ball joints in the years we were looking at so that eliminated most of the Newmar coaches out there unless the owner had done the repair.

We were looking at 36 feet, but ended up with 40 footer and couldn't be happier.

I like a hard surface roof such as aluminum or fiberglass. In my mind, harder is better, but the aluminum roof normally has a seam down the middle because it's two pieces and has more places to leak.

We rarely put out an awning so power awnings wouldn't be something we'd like to pay for.

You'll have a hard time finding a coach with a real gas oven and the newer the coach, the more likely it is to have a microwave/convection oven

Norcold, a common OEM fridge, has a bad reputation. Do a lot of research on this.

Any older coach is going to need an entertainment center upgrade unless it's been done. Our 2000 model came with two HD TVs a CD, DVD, TV satellite dish, satellite radio and surround sound system. We got lucky.

Most class A's we saw had air horns. A lot of them had water stains around the air horn location because they leak if you don't take care of them. They sound cool.

We don't have power shades, but are exploring the possibility of adding them in the future. They make driving in to the sun easier on the eyes.

We explored solar panels, but mounting the permanently to the roof won't work for us since we camp in parks are are frequently in the shade. They also add another hole in the roof to leak.

Six volt batteries give you more storage capacity which is great for boondocking. We don't do that much so it was a bonus for us. Our coach is rarely unplugged when we're not moving though.

We like chairs and not a dinette. Personal preference really. Do you like coke or root beer?

We pulled the washer/dryer combo out of the coach within a week of buying it. Everybody has preferences, but we'd rather walk into a laundromat and use four washing machines at the same time and be done with it in an hour. The PO said it took 3 hours to wash and dry a load in our combo unit---too long for us.

Full body paint is a fairly recent development and more desirable in my opinion. We have it on ours only because the coach was painted by the PO.

The single most important consideration for us was the CONDITION of the coach. Almost everything else can be fixed, replaced, removed or otherwise worked around. There are a lot of leaky coaches out there with mold and rotten walls and floors.

Do your homework, be patient and be ready to pounce when the right one comes a long. Good luck.

Thanks, so much! Will try and answer a few of your own questions, and the first thing that comes to mind is coke or root beer! Honestly, I haven't had a soft drink since I was a teenager....as I've always been aware of the added sugar, and my to-go-to drink is tea & coffee. Always have a bottle of water with me as well to keep hydrated as needed. So, my drinks are a little more bland than many others...so also may my motorhome options list.

Engine wise, well, after 35 years of working in the forest industry, I decided to try driving the big rigs for a while, so I'm aware of the options engine wise. I only drove for 10 years, and only stuck it out that long as I had an awesome employer, but as you'd often hear, the wages sucked big time, and my age and responsible saving allowed me to retire at a reasonable age thankfully. In saying that, driving a truck that had a CAT, was an awesome experience, as the HP to torque seemed effortless.
Of course when emissions got thrown in the mix, everything turned to Cummin's, Mercedes, International and Detroit! I found the Mercedes to be the least powerful, but that's just me, and everything else was just 'ok' compared to CAT. Cummins is known for being in Dodge trucks, thus have a good reputation overall in a pickup, but then I'm different there too, as I wouldn't own a Dodge truck....love the engine, just not what's around it. Have had two Ford pickups, the last one for 17 years with the turbo/diesel, and other than maintenance, it never had an issue! My current newer one (both with International diesels) had one warranty issue, but has worked flawlessly since then, and is now out of warranty. It won't be needed when we get a motorhome, so the $$ for it, will help and our slide in Arctic Fox with slide camper will help finance a motorhome.

I currently have a rubber roof on the Arctic Fox, and have no issues, but it's one of those things where it's always best to 'ask' others, what/why they've chosen what they have, to see if there is a better alternative. I know with the rubber roof, they have to be cleaned and maintained, as I'm sure they all do.
One roof I've heard of recently is 'Britetek' which I need to do more research on, as some swear by them.

That's good to know about Norcold, as that's what we have in the camper, although it's given us little trouble. The odd time it doesn't want to fire up right away, otherwise once going it works well.

Tires is an interesting topic, with some liking specific brands, and getting more miles out of their tires than others?

It's kind of nice to see, that overall there are not certain brands that are so bad that everyone is staying to steer clear of X brand!

Definitely lots to consider, so I'll definitely be doing my research.

Thanks.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:58 PM   #7
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I can only offer an opinion because of my experience. We built our first camper in a school bus back in 1969. We have continuously owned some form of RV to take our little tribe out camping/travelling etc.
In all those years I replaced 2 refrigerators one of each RV brand, and with no fires. As to roof material-think where you will be using it. When camping in hot summer we like to get near shade- see tree. Had too many holes poked through rubber roofs by wayward tree branches.
Body paint is really nice, but we like to get a little ways off the beaten path so frequently we'll rub bushes and tree branches sticking out- would you cry if you scratched your body paint?
Tires- I have yet to meet but one person who actually wore their RV tires out, everyone else had to change them because of old age and side wall cracking (MANY DIFFERENT BRANDS).
Entertainment center- don't hold back purchase because of current TV. As you know you can't buy electronic gadgetry fast enough for it to not be out of date. If you install your own there will be no compromises. To the solar panel, you will probably have to install your own as it would be very rare that someone else has assembled and energy source to suit you. We manage 4 days and then have to run the genny for 2-3 hours to recharge, as it is quiet, we have not had trouble doing so at appropriate times of day.
Personal choice on decor is just that-personal choice. To us dark cabinets, while looking very upscale soon wear thin- think dark and dreary. Table and chairs we find more comfortable in our old age with more curtailed mobility, the booth would do if you really need more sleeping accommodation.
Side radiator is really nice, but most have not suffered greatly with rear radiator. Other than oil change there just isn't that much maintenance that requires frequent access to the top of the engine, unless you are "chicken little and your sky is falling".
As to chassis, there are some models well known to stay away from; else consider that the more pieces that bolt together is just more opportunity for wear out or repair. On the engine front, there are some models in both Cat and Cummins that have shown a propensity to have an Achilles heal. While 500 hp sounds nice-look to torque first. Consider the service and maintenance record. I have found my 330 Cummins to be adequate in my 36' DP going through the mountains that separate us, when pulling either boat or toad.
Don't overlook older used high end coaches either like Newell, Prevost and other true high end DP.
I have posted this before, there are some tremendous bargains to be had in Alberta right now with 100,000 gas and oil workers out of work, some are having to shed their toys. As long as they haven't lived in it on site. (see kijiji.ca/alberta/Red Deer ad #Ad ID 1136531795)
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