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Old 01-13-2011, 04:37 PM   #1
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Question my first MH

happy new year to all
well this is it, retirement this year, went to a show in syracuse ny, we will be selling /trading our jayco designer quad slide and want to get into a class a. expect to be out and about the next 15 years or so, will keep farm in ny where we have a 32x48 by 16'ceiling pavilion with slab all utilities next to our acre pond with big house accross the road for forgotten stuff. we have fivered the last 4 years there, best site in the world, but now its time to see the USA before we get too old (56 now). so i think we have gotten size down to 32-36', diesel would be nice, initial trips one to two weeks, maybe up to 30 days in future, stop at interesting location for a bit, explore move on, may tow a small vehicle, definitely want to bring some of our stuff and pet(s). was seriously looking at Wanderlodge BMC 37 or Sp36, but they are old, heavy,nice but complicated and a bit scarey to consider driving. think used is a good option because of number of units out there, but would consider new because we will keep it for 15+ years. So far short list is Winnebago, Tiffin, and possibly Newmar. want to try and find something that has dealer support in northeast. Am i crazy, or are we haeding in the right direction? time frame is own something by spring/ early summer , short shakedown trips, then 7 to 10 day to maine.

gary in cooperstown ny

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Old 01-13-2011, 05:57 PM   #2
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Gary, congrats on your pending retirement.

Regarding the purchase of a motorhome, consider the shorter diesel pusher's so you can navigate the state and federal parks.

We have a Winnie Journey 34' which we love due to it's shorter length, as we do a lot of camping in NYS parks in the summer.

I'm sure there are a lot of good used Winnie diesels out there, and Winnie provides excellent customer support.

'07 Winnebago Journey 34H - CAT C7, Koni's, MCU's, SS Bell Crank, Safe-T-Plus
'07 HHR Toad, SMI AFO, Blue OX
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:17 PM   #3
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My thought is buy what you think you want for 15 yrs and then in a year or two buy what you really want and need.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:33 PM   #4
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Find a way to drive the ones you mentioned as a test. I am very partial to Newmar because of the quality, service response, and the Comfort Drive. I know Tiffin has a good quality product also but no comfort drive type system. This is a significant deal to me as it is very "comforting" on an 8 hour drive day and in steady cross winds or heavy truck traffic on the interstate.

Good luck in your choice. It's a lot of fun exploring what is out there.

2009 Newmar 42 ft. Allstar 4188, Wheelchair Accessible, 400HP Cummins ISL, Allison 3000, Mastertow Dolly, '98 Riviera
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. How lucky you are.

I'm with Don in saying consider an under 40ft DP so you can get into our NP's. Since you're going to be heading out across our great nation, those are the places you'll want to hit.

Getting a well cared for, late model used unit will save you the depreciation on new & the break-in nuisance issues of a new will probably already be fixed. There are many nice used MH's in our Classifieds section here. Take a look at them.

Also, find yourself a decent used car or SUV to tow. No sense getting a brand new one dinged up towing all over the country. You'll want a vehicle to go sightseeing & to get supplies/food.

Shopping is half the fun. Enjoy trying out different mfr units & keep us posted on your search.

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Old 01-13-2011, 10:13 PM   #6
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Garycz - Sounds like you have a good plan in place. People see the USA in 5th wheels, TT's and motor homes. Basically, if you are going to go and then park for a while a fifth wheel works out best. But if you are going to motor more than you home a class A motor home is the best choice. Of course that is a general comment and there are many exceptions to those rules.

I also started out wanting to get a Bluebird. Cared for they are beautiful, built to last, and laden with features. When we were looking to upgrade a bit over a year ago we found that the big issue is slides. Only the late model Bluebirds have them and those coaches are expensive. And the best RV sales man I have ever met (meaning honest and knowledgeble) Steve Wilson of Holland in San Diego said to me one afternoon, "Bluebirds are wonderful coaches when they work and horrible expensive to fix when they don't." I love the custom interiors on some of them.

The best advice I can give you on coach shopping is shop alot and don't be in a hurry. If you take it slow and look at and drive a bunch of motor homes over a few months you will slowly figure out what it is you need / want.

Since I sell big machines used on the internet and love to tinker with machines I really preferred to buy used. We looked at everything from a demo Fleetwood Providence (Which has great floorplans) to many many used coaches. Beavers, Alpines, Country Coaches, Bluebirds, Dutch Stars, several American Coaches, Travel Supreme, and so on. I read and reread a number of times the RVCG handbook, devoured JR RV guide, and every other RV site on line I could find.

We found we preferred higher end somewhat older coaches to newer lower end coaches. And our budget was originally targeted at 100,000. It did go up. There is a huge difference in the quality of the interiors between something like a Fleetwood Providence compared to any Country Coach. And there exterior paint on a higher end machine has THICK clear coat so they shine and look new for years. That is not the case with lower end ones.

But even the lower end motor homes have motors that will go for 300,000 miles plus and transmissions to match. So if you are OK with the interior of the entry level coaches the motor home running gear itself will last a lifetime. However, you said you were thinking Bluebird. If that is your benchmark you can save a lot of time by limiting you looking to 1. Bluebirds 2. Foretravel 3. Country Coach 4. Beaver 5. Monaco 6. Travel Supreme 7. Some Alpines 8. American Coach (there is no order here, all of these are top of the line machines )- Those are in the price range new of just below Bluebirds and all have slides.

There is nothing wrong with Tiffin, Newmar, and Winny - They are just not in the same class as the Bluebirds. There are a few high end Newmars - I think it is the Essex - no doubt a great machine. Just my humble opinion but I think Newmar is the best of the three you mentioned. But only by a hair. If you go to an RV show and look at those three makers in the same price range you can't tell them apart.

Also, IMHO if you are buying used don't worry if some of the used ones are out of business. All the motors and main drive stuff is common. The only one that may have some sourcing issues is Alpine. I just have to include them though as they are likely the best class A for driving ever made. And the 2002-2006 ones have beautiful interiors.

Happy hunting.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:48 AM   #7
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Take your time and enjoy the joy or exploring new MH's. We spent over a year looking, driving, exploring the internet. Our budget would not allow new but found that there are some amazing deals out there for well cared for and pre-loved used. We live in Upstate and ended up buying a consignment from Rhode Island. Looked at MH all the way from Arizona to Md. Take your time, define what you think you want, talk to as many owners as you can. Enjoy the journey, it is all we have, there is no other destination.
Dan and Kathryn DeBruin plus dogs
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:48 AM   #8
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We went through the same thing you did about 6 years ago when we retired. My advice after owning my 3rd coach and driving almost 100,000 miles around this great country is to try and buy what you think you want to travel in for the next 15 years the first time. I went from a 37' Winnie to a 40' Tiffin to a 42' Tiffin. I would have saved a lot of money if I had bought bigger at first. The earlier post about the state parks are right on. You have to decide what is important to you... the space when you set up, or the problems of getting into some state parks. The high end interiors were not important to us as long as it was well made. Happy shopping and have a great time. Bill
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:34 AM   #9
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We bought a 7 year old 38' Country Coach with no slides and 26,000 odometer miles.

Nine years and 60,000 miles later we are still trying to decide what we need that we do not have, in our next coach.

I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:03 AM   #10
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Even though I was not the one asking the original question, I just want to let you know that there are probably several other of us members who are reading and using all of your suggestions. I too am in the process of making a decision of what and how much for a motorhome and all of the information that I can get is a great deal of help for me. There is nothing like the advice and opinions of an owner who is not trying to sell you something to get the full and honest truth!!!

Thanks for all of the help!!!
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:50 PM   #11
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We just went through this buying process. After having a slide in pick up
RV, a pull behind, a Class C and a 5th wheel, we decided it was time for a Class A. The plan was similar to those noted above, find a clean, well maintained two to four year old DP. We looked at many...in person, on lots, and on the internet. We saw none we would own that were reasonably priced...they were dirty, worn out and/or dirty carpet, reeking of stale cigarette smoke, air filters filthy, poorly maintained and just plain used hard. Anything decent was priced around $175k to $250k. To make a long story short, we ended up buying a new 2009 model for roughly one third off the MSRP. Even though technically two years old, it has a full factory warranty since we are the initial owners. We've made two trips and have had a few bugs, but most are from not being familiar with the systems...such as the Aqua Hot and hydraulic jacks. As for being two years old, the only thing we have noticed is some interior fading from sitting outside. So the bottom line is we got a "new" rig for a bit more than we would have paid for a $200k used MH that had been rode hard and put away wet...with no warranty or guarantee of any sort.

Don't know this for a fact, but one salesman told us that starting with the 2011 model year, MHs are required to add the regen system to the engines. This adds a great deal to the cost, lowers MPG and adds expense in the form of maint and refilling costs. We ruled out the 2011 models for these reasons.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:06 PM   #12
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my first motorhome updtae

Good evening all!
Thank you all so much for your responses and suggestions. As i said, wife and I are looking for the first MH, hopefully the correct and only one. I am zeroing in on Newmar, and have found "remarketed" new 2008 Kountry Stars available at a midwestern dealer. I also joined RV consumer group, RV.org, i was a member when i bought my fifth wheel. They critique RV's of all types, they had reviews of 16,000 MH models from the last 10 years. Their basic concept is safety, value and quality. That being said they also are not very happy with anything shorter than 36 feet because of the handling, they say wheelbase divided by overall lenght should be at least .55, any thing less is problematic on drivability. I dont know because i am new, but i do kind of respect their advice. This being said, we may get serious about one of the above units in the 39'2" length. They rate it as an overall 4 star out of 5. The price looks very good when you look in various places such as NADA, dealers, and private sales. Asking is $174, with a few options such as the Cummins 400hp upgrade. Now i need to start doing the budget for yearly upkeep, insurance, registration, figure 2500 to 4000 miles per year so i will need to get numbers from dealer on what yearly service would cost, even though i would probably do the simple items such as fluids, there would be other things dealers would do, but to be safe, and assume i get lazy i want to plug in dealer numbers. I am guessing with fuel at $3.50 g/diesel, and 8mpg, that if i just assumed $1 per mile for fuel and basic service i should be safe, correct? I will be calling Newmar and talking to them directly to get a feel for the company, i watched all the video's they had on their site and was somewhat impressed. I am a stickler for quality, and for what i will be laying out I want to be sure the value is there. I am smelling a road trip to the factory and a side trip to the dealer wish me luck!
-15 in upstate ny tonight!
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:22 AM   #13
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We were also looking for the right vehicle at the right price for over a year. We purchased a repo 2004 Damon Escaper form a dealer here in Florida for less than wholesale. We are scheduled to pick it up this week. If you look around long enough you can find some nice deals. The dealer we used was Quality Motor Coach in Apopka, Florida. Quality Motor Coach Inventory a look a the 05 Travel Supreme for $173,500. It's pretty sweet.

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