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Old 05-05-2011, 06:09 AM   #1
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Just getting started and a little intimidated

My wife and I are considering getting into RVing. We are retired and it's just the two of us and our golden retriever and cat. We don't plan to be full time or even half/half in 2 places, but will probably travel south from Western North Carolina more in the winters with some shorter trips in the summers.

We have located what seems to be a great rig for us (used 2011 Forest River Georgetown 280DS with <5k miles and still under warranty) at an excellent price. Everything I have read has said pretty good things about Forest River and the Georgetown series as well.

My fears are based on reading all of the posts on problems with MHs and the time, effort and $s spent to fix them. While I do a lot around the house to fix/maintain things, I have never been one to fix my own vehicles. Given the added number of system and shear size of the vehicle, I don't know if I am up to the task of keeping everything maintained and safe.

My question to the group here is... am I interpreting the forum posts wrongly in thinking MHs will are a rolling bunch of problems or soon to be problems?

Please allay my fears as I am thinking about taking a 250 mile drive to possibly buy my first RV... or perhaps not.

Thanks much, Jeff

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Old 05-05-2011, 06:30 AM   #2
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Hello Jeff, and first off,

As a Forest River owner myself, I would like to compliment you on your choice. Of course the Georgetown is more of a flagship model than my Lexington, but it has been perfect for us, and we love it.

I would look at it more this way...the posts you read here may tend to make one think that everyone who has an RV has problems. However, the vast majority of RV owners never have a single serious problem with there RV (especially one as new as a 2011). They just don't feel the need to post evry day or every week or month that "We are having no problems with our RV".

However, when a problem does pop up, this forum is absolutely one of the best tools you can have to help seek resolution the fastest, and most cost effective way possible. It's like having something go wrong while camping in a campgound with hundreds of experts, many of whom have had the exact same problem! You would be crazy not to utililize that!

And then too, there are the group of folks of which I count myself a member, who are enthusiasts about "working" on their RV's. They consider it fun to do the maintenence, repairs, and the ultimate fun thing...upgrades! Putting hydraulic jacks on my Lexington was a lot of hard work, but I found it very rewarding, and I documented the procedure here on IRV2. If you tinker around the house, you will likely find yourself learning about the various systems in your RV, and doing some "customizing" yourself. But, it can be addictive!

So my advice would be to not let the number of posts on IRV2 from folks who are having problems stop you from investing in the RV you described. Try to compare that number in your mind with the sheer number of RVs out there. If you do decide to take the plunge, put it to good use and have the time of your life!

2011 Winnebago Vista 30W
Duane, Precy, 9 year old son Matt, and Abby, our American Eskimo.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:34 AM   #3
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Location: Georgia
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A little more info would be helpful. Have you done any traveling before and camping in a travel trailer, popup, or similiar? If not, I would be a little relucant to invest that much money without a trial run. Maybe rent a MH for a week and see if living in the smaller space presents any problems.

That said, some people have a lot of problems with their units and others don't. It is the same with autos or trucks, some have problems and others don't. I also am not one to work on the motorhome mechanically. However, the other systems (water, sewer, electrical, etc) I do work on much as I do on the stick house. I'm lucky in the sense I never had any major mechanical problems on the MH to deal with.

I'm sure others with jump in with some better advice. Good luck on your decision.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:34 AM   #4
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I'm sure a lot of folks with more experience than I will jump in here Jeff. We started with pop-up campers, then trailers and now we live full-time in a motorhome (a little over a year now). We purchased a 2005 Monaco and yes it has quite a number of systems in it. Mines going on 7 years old and just got it's first set of new tires. I've had a few minor problems but I use this forum to learn more about my systems and what I should watch for and maintain. Preventative maintenance seems to be the key. I work on some of the stuff myself but I also use a heavy truck service center and RV dealers for others. It's kind of hard to dump 9.5 gallons of oil in the average RV park You came to the right place, there are guys and gals here who have many years and hundreds of miles on coaches, 5th wheels and trailers. Experts on electric, engines, tires, solar, you name it. I plan to just absorb and learn more as I go. Don't let it overwhelm you.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:39 AM   #5
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Welcome to the RV lifestyle.
A motor home can be a very expensive option unless you intend to do a lot of traveling. For a first time RVer you might consider something less expensive and less intimidating. Start with a smaller travel trailer and either a large SUV like a Suburban or a 1/2 ton pickup. Then if the lifestyle does not suit you, you are not wasting a lot of money. And smaller trailers can be sold relatively easy.
Don and Lorri
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:24 AM   #6
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More Info and feeling better about things

Thanks to everyone for the quick responses. As for a little more info, we are truly first timers from both a camping and RVing point of view. We did a little tent camping early in our marriage but never to any great extent. The closest experience I have is a lot of traveling (domestic but mostly internationally) for work. I know what its like to be a "gypsy" to some extent, though I understand RVing won't be like staying at hotels etc.

We have looked at renting first but not many places near us (within 200 miles) will rent to people with pets. The cost is pretty high too.

A few years back we looked at TTs but in the end I was uncomfortable with the feeling of the trailer and handling etc. At that point we said if we were going to get into RVs it would be with a MH. During our current evaluation we also considered class B units. But after actually getting into a few, there just isn't enough room for 2 people a 90lb dog and a cat.

Again thanks for all the good input. I am feeling better about making the move.

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Old 05-05-2011, 07:31 AM   #7
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I am a newbie here myself...and welcome. I grew up camping in a 26' motorhome. Now that I have a family of my own (with a loving wife who has never camped) we purchased a 1996 class a coachmen mirada 3 years ago. After our 1st trip she was in love. We ended up camping at our local state park frequently. And now,wouldn't oh know it, we just sold our coachmen and bought a 38' damon. My point is this...I was unsure if my wife would enjoy the rv. I scoured the internet to try to find something we could easily afford but keeping in mind if she didn't like it I could get our money back out of it. So I so agree with the previous replies, if you are unsure don't go hog wild on your initial purchase.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:12 AM   #8
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It's too bad that you can't find one to rent for a couple times to see if you really enjoy the experience. You say it's expensive to do, but it's not nearly as expensive as buying a unit and then deciding it's not for you. How about you rent something a couple times and leave the pets in a kennel somewhere so you can get some experience to be able to make an informed decision with?

I started like you and if anyone had been able to tell me up front what all was going to be involved I probably would not have done it. Now that I've worked through all the issues am I glad I did? Absolutely YES, but it's been a real learning curve. If you are a patient person with a bit of mechanical aptitude, natural curiosity about how things work, ability to research to find solutions and then apply them, some jingle in your pocketbook, then everything can be managed. But, as Clint Eastwood said in one of his movies, "A man's got to know his limitations".

Just don't go into this blind. Good luck!
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:20 AM   #9
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Back in the mid 8-'s my wife and I tent camped. Like you, we also both traveled the country on business. We eventually went from the tent to a pop-up camper. I got transferred to Florida in 90 and we sold the pop-up. We also said that if we were going to do anymore camping it would be in a Class A. Well, around 1994 we decided it was time for us to dive in and purchase a Class A, which we did. We purchased a 33' National Seabreeze. It was just the two of us and 3 dogs. We all loved going out in it but again, we were still traveling the country with our jobs and didn't get to use the coach as much as we wanted to so we sold it a couple of years later. We said, that we would resume Rving when we retired.

Well, we are both retired now and as of January 2011 we got back into RVing. We started looking for our dream coach in 2009 and spent a lot of time looking. We test drove plenty of gas powered rigs from about 34 to 38 feet in length. Most had slides in them. While at LazyDays (a dealership in Florida) we had the opportunity to test drive a DP after we test drove a gas powered coach. There was no comparison, there was no noise and the ride was unbelievable. We continued to look for coaches but the wife had made the decision that we needed a diesel coach instead of a gas powered coach. (she made me happy) I know nothing about diesels, but there is plenty of help on this forum.

We are enjoying the heck out of our 40' 2004 Damon Escaper 4076. At this point in our lives we have 2 dogs and 2 cats that also travel with us. We need the larger coach so that we can travel in comfort. We are headed out to north Georgia next Tuesday for a few days then from there we are headed to Charleston, SC for a few days.I say go for it, you only live once. Best of luck to you,Rick
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
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I have gone the complete gammit! Tents, pickup campers, fold downs, 5th wheels, and now a DP. In analizing each you can add dollars on initial purchase price and for maintaining them as you go up the food chain. Tents have very small maintainence costs but very few creature comforts as well. My DP always seems to have something of a good sized list of places to spend money.
For a creature comforts and cost comparison I truley believe the 31 ft 5th wheel was the best that I recieved for my money, the easiest to repair, and the least problems of any of the campers that I would consider for retirement. Having said that, I own a DP and selling it to go back into a 5th wheel would cost me even more on the loss of value! If I get the chance for do overs, I will have a 34ft 5th wheel with 3 slides that can be pulled by a 3/4 ton.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:19 PM   #11
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I didn't see any mention of a warranty. IF it has one then use it diligently and you can solve any shake out problems investing only time. If it does not ask for one, make a deal if they will---failing that maybe "let me drive it 100 miles and use it for two days in your lot and have you repair anything I find during that period". Seems fair.

Most of the "problems we have had were chaulked up to human error at the factory or dealership---did not turn that on ---or check this or that---nothing serious but aggravating.

We have had the same coach nine years with very few problems we travel and stay around numbers of people who just enjoy their rigs. We discuss and share problems more like a hobby and help with solutions most of it minor.

I do know one person that seems to have an abundance of problems but I see no evidence that there is any preventative maintenence on his part. I think you need to enjoy some tinkering, I do, and have a preventative maintenence plan done by you and experts where required.

I wil also say that some of the things needing fixing were because of some dumb thing I did-----motor home is fine---operator error.

One final thought -----before we bought ours (since I did not know of IRV2) I obtained e-mail address from about 10 owners of the brands I was considering from their club website. I e-mailed them all asking what they thought of the two. All e-mailed back saying they "loved" what they had----one person said he had owned both and prefered one over the other---I went that way and have been happy with my choice. No one of the random sample indicated any problems.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:01 PM   #12
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Question Looking to buy a Tiffin

Hi Everyone,
My Wife and I are in the market for a motorhome. It will be our 1st and I think we have narrowed it down to a Tiffin Allegro35QBA (it has bunks) or maybe a Tiffin RED QBA. If anyone has either of these motorhomes would you please give me the good and bad. Is the RED DP worth $50,000 more than the gas model.........Thanks, John & Vivian
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:58 PM   #13
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When we were in Junction City, OR at Guaranty RV, there was a parking lot full of RV's waiting to be repaired. It ranged from pop-ups to a Prevost - everything in between. So it doesn't matter what you buy, you will eventually have a problem that needs fixing.

As stated, this forum is a good starting place to either fix it yourself, or find a reputable dealer.

Jump in, the water is fine.
Wayne MSGT USMC (Ret) & Earlene (CinCHouse)
2015 Winnebago Tour 42QD
It is what it is, and then it is what you make of it.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:01 PM   #14
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I've owned three mh's (not counting a 2000 VW Camper) all bought used, all have had issues. My dad had several mh's including a ground up custom greyhound conversion to a Newell. All had issues at one point or another. They are rolling apartments which of course puts more strain on all the components than a stick house.

My current mh cost peanuts to buy, quite a bit (comparatively) to get road ready, and still could use a complete exterior make over (not gonna happen!). But it get me to the state parks I like, keeps me dry/cool/warm and has reaffirmed that I like doing this and so does the spouse.

I have learned to deal with many of the systems and let me tell you I'm not mechanic/electrician/plumber. I leave the hard stuff to those that are.

I think a MH is the easiest to deal with in getting from point a to point b, setting up, leaving more time to do what I want to do. I've watched folks with 5'ers, TT's, Pop ups and they seem to spend a good deal of time getting ready to have fun or getting ready to go. They have their good points too, just my preference is a mh.

Expect to have maintenace items, but I suspect you can handle them.

Tom Wilds
Blythewood SC
2016 Newmar Bay Star Sport 3004
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