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Old 12-29-2009, 03:03 PM   #1
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Smile newbie help please

Hello - this is my first post here. I have decided to buy a DP motorhome and need some guidance. I am a boat guy and know who the quality players are in that market but I am pretty much in the dark when comes to RV's. I am a single (recently divorced) guy who wants to downsize in life an live full time in an RV ( good facilities close to work). I have lived a boats before so I'm pretty sure what the pitfalls are. Looking to spend around 100K so I thinking used. I recognize names like Newmar but am looking for some opinions on who makes quality coaches. Like I said I know the boat players and I know there is a big differece in quality. Any direction would be helpful. A list from best to worst would also be appreciated.. Thanks again Greg
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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The following are the Brands that are still in business, not the levels or models of each. Probably top three Brands (debatable and very subjective) are, any Monaco product, Tiffin and Newmar. Monaco builds their own chassis portion (Roadmaster) and is now owned by Navistar. Tiffin is privately owned and has a very good customer service reputation and very loyal customer base. Newmar is owned by a Mennonites and is known for craftsmanship.

Most of the Coaches are built on either Freightliner or Spartan Chassis and have a Cat or Cummins diesel with Allison transmissions. Forest River is owned by Warren Buffet and has started using more Mercedes Diesels over the last few years. They have some different floor plans than most and are less expensive and up and coming. Most all use the same brands of Refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, windows, power mirrors, gauges, furniture, stoves, ovens, water pumps, electronic house controls, generators, inverter/converter/chargers, power steps, leveling systems, washer/dryer, etc.

The main differences seem to be in quality of construction for the house that sits on the chassis and the reputation of the manufacturer to stand behind the product. The Dealers today seem to be far less important and most provide pretty poor service anyway. RV dealers seldom provide service on the chassis and engine portion.

There are a few basic floor plan styles with many variations of each; front living room with walk through bath, front kitchen with side bath, front kitchen with rear bath and half bath. There are Coaches with anywhere from 1-6 slideouts, with full wall slides becoming very popular. Some features that some love or hate; full paint schemes (dark colors especially black are having problems with gel coat in the sun) , all tile (often cracks) or laminate floors (except bedroom), hydronic heating (radiant), Sanicon Waste System (power pump with macerator instead of regular drain hose), power window/windshield shades, LED Lighting, large screen tv, entertainment systems, outside entertainment systems, sliding storage trays, air leveling and tag axles.

There are some industry known defects in certain models and runs of specific serial number engines, chassis and side panels. These can be researched. New diesels after a certain date have to meet new emission standards and many are concerned about the new technology to achieve the standards and are hesitant to buy into the new technology.

This has been Motorhome 101!

Monaco

Monaco
Beaver
Safari
Holiday Rambler

Tiffin

Newmar

Winnebago

Winnebago
Itasca

Fleetwood

Coachmen

Forest River
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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You will probably get many opinions about quality, but here's my 2 cents worth. The 3 brands I see most often mentioned as top brands are Winnebago, Tiffin and Newmar.

Winnebago is the largest motorhome manufacturer. They didn't get there by building junk.

Tiffin has the #1 best selling model several years runnung (Phaeton) and the #2 best selling model (Allegro Bus). Tiffin is a family-owned company with a reputation for excellent customer service.

Newmar is built in the heart of Indiana's Amish country. They have a reputation for quality based on Amish craftsmanship.

As you can see from our signature, we have an Tiffin Allegro Bay. We couldn't be happier with our coach and with Tiffin.

Try to go to as many RV shows as you can - the bigger the better - to get an idea of available features, floorplans, and prices. Visit the Owners Forums toward the lower part of the main iRV2 forum listings to see what owners are saying about coaches from various manufacturers. Good luck in your search.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
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Hi Drop In,

Another 2 cents worth from someone who started out with a pop-up, then a fifth wheel, and now a class A.

Depending on your life style and budget you may fall into the catagory of needing/wanting to work on your RV because you have the skills or want to save money. On the other hand, you may not have the ability or time to do repairs yourself. From what my experience has been and what I've read on this web site, all RVs are like boats, things break and need maintenance more often than a passenger vehicle. And everything is more expensive from labor to parts.

In either case, I believe the class A diesel pusher is the best choice. You can purchase any of the three that were mentioned above. Be ready to loose a lot of value by purchasing something new. If you go with a used unit don't limit your vision to those manufacturing new RVs. Others that have gone out of business are good choices if you buy new. As Jim Steward said, most use the same engines, transmissions, chasis, parts, appliances, etc that can be serviced at nearly any dealer. Or, again, you can get the parts to fix it yourself.

One final thought, if you purchase 2003 or older, you can get an engine that was manufactured before the new emissions standards were enforced.

Hope things work out for you. Take your time.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:30 PM   #5
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great start.. so i'm guessing older tech (pre 03) diesels are preferred? is there any economy diff? what about major coach design features to look for - side pannel material, roof design, structural design. I realize that all the appliances and the like are basically similar. thanks again
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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You want "full body paint", much easier to keep up and holds up better in the sun over time. I believe the year the engines changed were 2006-2007. You want a solid fiberglass or metal roof, rubber sucks and requires maintenance and eventual replacement.

Going to a large RV show will help educate on available floor plans and such. In your price range, you can get a nice DP in the 2005 and possibly 2006 range. Last year I bought a very low mileage 2005, 39'6" DP, 4 slides with many options for $88,000.00.
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