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Old 06-03-2013, 12:07 PM   #1
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Smile Make/model advice - pros and cons

Hi everyone,

I'm currently shopping for a class A motorhome. I've never owned an RV before and am trying to do my homework. (I do have a CDL and experience driving buses and tractor-trailers.)

The basic parameters I've come up with so far:
- Class A between 35-45 feet
- Diesel pusher
- Age range: Late 90s-early 2000s
- Price range: Under $50K
- Engine: Prefer Caterpillar or Cummins, but open to suggestions
- Fuel mileage: Aiming for at least 10 mpg

However, I know relatively about makes and models in the RV world, common problems to look for, what I want in terms of layouts, whether I want slideouts, or what to budget for maintenance. I have been lurking in the forums for a few days and there is a lot of good advice here, but I still thought I'd post and get some input for my specific situation.

BTW, the criteria above are not set in stone, I just needed to start somewhere.

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #2
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You must be trying to start World War III.

If you're looking for brand suggestions I tend to like Newmar, Monaco/Holiday Rambler, Tiffin and some Fleetwood/American Coach brands.

There are brands I'd avoid, but won't mention them here. Don't want to be the one that fires the first shots.

I will say that my opinion - oh how did the President say it - oh yeah! My opinion evolves over time. At one point I would not have considered anything from Thor Industries. That was until a buddy of mine purchased a 40ft Mandalay. Turns out its a very nice coach. Not the most high end coach, but good value for the money.

As always... Your mileage may vary.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #3
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Hi Txviking,

I see you just joined IRV2, welcome. use the search feature and you will see several threads very similar to your question. I too like Newmar, American, And Monaco the best, but this is just personal opinion and I know several folks who have been very happy with their Winniebago's and Fleetwoods.

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Old 06-03-2013, 12:36 PM   #4
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You'll probably find that most folks here think their coach is the best, and that's what they recommend.

My personal preference, based on experience from having owned several diesel pushers, is to avoid any coach with the small Cummins 5.9 ISB engine. Especially if it's NOT mated to the Allison SIX speed.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:20 PM   #5
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If avoiding the Cummins ISB, you may as well forget aiming for at least 10 MPG. The vast majority of diesel pushers will be getting under 10 MPG. We have a short pusher with the small CAT C7 and get in the 7.5 to 8.5 range normally ...sometimes a bit more but our average is in that range, but it has the ACERT emission controls so the mileage isn't as good as the older CATs. In the age range you're looking, you can probably find one that averages right around that 10 MPG area or a bit more but I'm thinking it will be a Cummins ISB or a CAT 3126E and once it's loaded and towing, I'm still thinking below 10 MPG. Both the older Cummins and CATs, as you know have their own separate set of problems to deal with.

We too are both former bus and truck drivers so we have diesel in our blood and diesel fumes in our brains because of being around them for 40-years but, still, for us, diesel is the only way to go. We'd be lost without being around them.

-harry
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txviking View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm currently shopping for a class A motorhome. I've never owned an RV before and am trying to do my homework. (I do have a CDL and experience driving buses and tractor-trailers.)

The basic parameters I've come up with so far:
- Class A between 35-45 feet
- Diesel pusher
- Age range: Late 90s-early 2000s
- Price range: Under $50K
- Engine: Prefer Caterpillar or Cummins, but open to suggestions
- Fuel mileage: Aiming for at least 10 mpg

However, I know relatively about makes and models in the RV world, common problems to look for, what I want in terms of layouts, whether I want slideouts, or what to budget for maintenance. I have been lurking in the forums for a few days and there is a lot of good advice here, but I still thought I'd post and get some input for my specific situation.

BTW, the criteria above are not set in stone, I just needed to start somewhere.

Thanks!
To be totally honest 10mpg is pushing it for any diesel coach in that size range. I have had a Travel Supreme with the 400 ISC that on a good day running 55-60 would do 8.5-9.0, a 2009 Bluebird with the 600 ISX that would do 7.5-8.0 at 55-60 as well and now the Newell with the 650 ISX that most days will see about the same as the bird did and if I kick it on up to to 70-75 it falls off to 6-6.5. It will all depend on how heavy your foot is like others have said. Good luck with the hunt and welcome to the boards
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:44 PM   #7
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Hi txviking,
Welcome to iRV2. Forget the 10 MPG. MPG should not even be on your list. For your list, consider:
1. Floor plan sells the coach. (The wife will tell you when its' right).
2. Will the coach tow the vehicle you want to tow? (GCWR)
3. Will the coach carry all your stuff and people? (GVWR)
4. Are there maintenance records available for review?
5. Tires and batteries (chassis & coach) will need to be replace (Most Likely).
6. Any signs of leaks in the ceiling (look in the cupboards and closets)?

The bottom line is the wife usually has the last word. If she likes it, most everything else can be taken care of, over time.

All this assumes you will travel to a place and stay a while (a week or more), touring the area to see the sights.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:04 PM   #8
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I think you better go up on the price you want to pay and down on the mpg
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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Take a look at this site. It is particularly helpful if you have not owned an RV before. I used it in my search and felt it was the best $150 I have spent in a long while.
As a side note, I am VERY satisfied with our Newmar choice. We arrived at our decision through rv.org.
As noted on other replies, 10 MPG is not going to happen. If someone is telling you they get 10 with 40' DP, they are lying like a broken fence... On a real good day, on a relatively flat highway, wind at my back, I will see 9.3
There are a lot of real nice higher end rigs on the market in the early 2000's for under 90K. The trick is to find the floor plan you like and in decent shape. These older mid to higher range DP's are usually looked after and are built to last. IMHOP, the house will be shot long before the running gear.

http://rv.org/index.html
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:10 PM   #10
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As noted on other replies, 10 MPG is not going to happen. If someone is telling you they get 10 with 40' DP, they are lying like a broken fence... On a real good day, on a relatively flat highway, wind at my back, I will see 9.3
There are a lot of real nice higher end rigs on the market in the early 2000's for under 90K. The trick is to find the floor plan you like and in decent shape.


Yep, he speaketh the truth... 9 mpg is probably the best REAL average you can expect.
Concerning price, there are plenty of excellent choices under $50k. I would suggest a Winnebago Journey DL. Very well made coach, right powertrain. (Cat 7.2/6 speed trans) Should be able to find a very nice 2002 for between $40-48k. Rock solid coach...

You'll see a lot of Holiday Rambler Endeavors out there. We have seen several, and they always seemed pretty dated inside. Lots of brass, mirrors and oak cabinets. Popular 15-20 years ago, but really bland. Other than that, they are decent coach's. Just make sure it has more than the 5.9 motor, and really make sure it has the six speed. Easy way to tell instantly is; the four or five speed have a "T" handle shifter, the six speed has a keypad shifter.

Other than that, again, there are plenty of under $50k coaches. I recommend to try to buy as new as possible; better amenities, colors, features, etc. eBay is a great source, look at the completed listing to see what REALITY market prices are (or are not...).
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:35 PM   #11
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35 to 45 foot motor coaches will not get 10 mpg, no matter what engine is in it. Think 6.5 to 8 mpg. That's real world.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:07 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the replies! I know my post was generic, and I have been reading through numerous similar posts on the forums as well. But this has given me a good starting point -- I have some brands to look at, I know that I have a realistic budget (even though it could stand to be bigger) and I know I need to moderate my expectations of fuel mileage a bit -- a compromise I'm willing to make for the comforts of a class A.

I do get the impression that as far as reliability goes, the drivetrain manufacturer seems to matter more than the RV brand. I'll be looking for a pushbutton Allison automatic transmission and either a Cummins or Caterpillar engine, although there are various models and I still have more research to do in that arena. I also have some research to do on generators, although I do want one and I do want it to be diesel.

Thanks again so far; all opinions are appreciated!
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:28 AM   #13
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If no to diesel generator, there are many diesel rigs no longer on your list.
Why no diesel gen?
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:56 AM   #14
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If no to diesel generator, there are many diesel rigs no longer on your list.
Why no diesel gen?
I think you misread my post. I said I do want one. What I don't want is an LP or gasoline generator that would require a separate fuel source.
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