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Old 09-08-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
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Newbie looking for advise on a Class A

Hi all, I just joined today. We are extreme newbies to Rv'ing. I have been a boater for years now, and we were about to buy a 58 Bertram yacht, but now we are looking into the whole RV movement. We are thinking real hard about jumping ship to an RV. I did a quick road trip across country, and fell in love with seeing folks just pulled over on the side of the road looking at the majestic mountains and plains while sitting in chairs having their coffee. We will be attending the RV Show in Hershey Pa. this week for a better education.. From just looking on the net, I have narrowed down my search to the Winnebago Journey, or the Ithaca Meridian,, as of right now before the show. I have been hearing about a family owned line the Tiffin. I hope to be in one and on the road soon. I would appreciate any help and or knowledge you guys have that can steer me in the right direction. What is a good brand of Class A home on the market? I don't want to spend my life savings like on one I see that was in the millions. I am assuming it is a good market for buyers on used ones? Are there RV surveyors that you can have come in like we do for boats? Trust me. I am really green on this and any help would be great. Hope to talk to you soon, Al
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:20 AM   #2
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just go to dealer lots and look around and see what u like. a class c might be all u need or if u are a space hog like me an class a might be better for u. smaller c's are better for out of the way spots. i'm not wealthy,but i prefer fleetwood products. and shop around for used ones too. the way the economy is alot of people are selling and u can get a better private seller deal than an dealer deal sometimes
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:21 AM   #3
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Good to have you with us, and post questions any time.
JMHO,Beware of some salesmen at RV shows, most times they were working at Big 5 last week. Always ask any salesman what type of RV he/she owns. If the answer is none; don't just walk away, RUN!.
Look into your home state/province laws regarding Motor home weights and air brakes, could be a re-test in your future. See the " Alert for California Members " post.
I hope the members here can help you find the RV your looking for.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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Thanks, I'm in New Jersey. Thats funny about the run part I hope this Hershey RV show will shed light on a bunch of my question also. if not I will be posting a lot. Thanks again
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #5
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Leave your checkbook home when you visit the Hershey show, to avoid any hasty decisions. The Winnebagos you are looking at are good ones, but so are the Tiffins and other brands as well. Look at a lot of floor plans to see what suits you best and what features and choices are available. The most common mistake is falling in lust with a particular model and floor plan too soon.

Check out the Tiffin Phaeton - similar price class to what you are looking at and a heck of a rig.
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:13 PM   #6
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Thanks, I'm in New Jersey. Thats funny about the run part I hope this Hershey RV show will shed light on a bunch of my question also. if not I will be posting a lot. Thanks again
WELCOME to iRV2.com. You found the best place for all things RV!

Please don't be insulted, but you've got a LOT of learning to do.....ENJOY, but please remember: "Buy in haste, regret until you sell at a loss"....... or something like that.

Also, ALL motorhomes are smaller than a Bertram 58, but they do get better MPG.......
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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For information about Tiffin Motor Homes check out the Tiffin RV Network. It's members are mainly Tiffin owners with a few other brand owners thrown in.

TiffinRVNetwork

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Old 09-08-2012, 01:31 PM   #8
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Thanks, Good advise about leaving the wallet home. Did that with my first boat. Fell in love and brought from the show. Never again. this is strictly an informational visit. I will let them store it for the winter months, and buy in the spring unless they want to give it away The more I'm reading on it, the more I know I need to learn about everything about them. There is way more to this hobby then boating. Just the wire and plumbing prints on them alone are giving me a headache. But, when you break down in a bus, it is much more relaxing then 10 miles off the coast of New Jersey in the middle of the ocean. Talk about a wife in panic mode!
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #9
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Hole in the water to hole in the ground

You just throw money into both of them I sold my 36' trawler after getting our first class A. We went with Newmar and are on our second Dutch Star. Liked the quality and floor plan but everyone has their own opinion. We looked at over 100 motor homes before we bought our first one. Went from Md to NY to Conn to Ohio, ended up in Rhode Island. There are a lot of motor homes out there and some are very good deals and some are very bad deals, most are in between. You need to get an idea of the market what things are important to you, then buy one at a price that you can upgrade in a few years after you really know what is important.

My only real advise is don't buy a new motor home as your FIRST motor home. You will know so much more after a few years on the road.

Enjoy yourself at Hershey. Will at least give you an idea of the available floorplans.

Welcome to IRV2. Amazing knowledge here and folks share it for free, best deal around!!
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Detective View Post
Thanks, Good advise about leaving the wallet home. Did that with my first boat. Fell in love and brought from the show. Never again. this is strictly an informational visit. I will let them store it for the winter months, and buy in the spring unless they want to give it away The more I'm reading on it, the more I know I need to learn about everything about them. There is way more to this hobby then boating. Just the wire and plumbing prints on them alone are giving me a headache. But, when you break down in a bus, it is much more relaxing then 10 miles off the coast of New Jersey in the middle of the ocean. Talk about a wife in panic mode!


We also are retired live aboards that have transitioned to the rv lifestyle. Age is one determining factor, the class A is by far less troublesome than a yacht. However, like the yacht problems do exist! We started with a used Fleetwood Excursion, loved the coach but needed more room traveling with a golden retriever and a border collie. I don't know what your budget is but if you were looking at a big Bertram it is large. Most all manufacturers this day make acceptable product. Ther are problems for sure but not as hard to solve due to inexpensive towing services, and many qualified technicians. My suggestions, look and look some more! Find the floor plan that fits you and your DW lifestyle.
Contrary to what many folks are saying shows offer lower price points than usually walking onto a dealers lot because manufacturers offer rebates. In our case an extra 5k! Correct, speak with a salesperson that has been involved with RV's personally or been in the business a long time. Ask these questions product knowledge is essential to a successful purchase. IMHO if money is available budget wise buy new. I know many will disagree but we have been on both sides, purchasing used and new. That first year warranty is important cause the new bug syndrome coupled with industry deminished QC is prevalent even in the million dollar rigs! We looked for these specific items when buying this time, tag axle, spartan chassis, diesel horse power with adequate torque to move a large bus, all electric, ie: aqua hot or equivalent, bath and a half, a must, room, and more room, a 45 ft. Coach is as easy to handle as a 33 ft coach. Been there! These are my suggestions, many will not agree. Lastly choose the dealer wisely, how long have they been around, how large is their organization, full RIVA trained techs, ask for customer names to question their relationship and service provided, you will most likely need the dealers help after purchasing. We did and most do. We were glad our homework helped us through the new bus bugs. Mostly find your floor plan, it is where you will sleep eat and have fun with other RV friends.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #11
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Enjoy that show and go to a few more. Go to as many RV dealers as you can. Don't be in a rush! In my opinion you are making the right choice from yacht to motor home. There just isn't any better way to see this beautiful country of ours then by MH. You will meet lots of good people along the way who will only be happy to help you avoid their mistakes. When looking at MH's our main concern was floor plan! We looked at maybe fifty before settling on our Bounder. For us, it had the near perfect floor plan! So take your time, ask lots of questions, and spend lots of time in each rig with the DW and see how well you guys move around in it.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:18 PM   #12
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Wow...... This thread could go on forever! By the time everyone has weighed-in with their opinions on everything from floor plans to engine configurations.....well good luck sorting it all out.

1) One of the raging debates on this forum is always the buy -NEW vrs the buy -USED argument. I am in the buy-used camp and not because of vicious depreciation on new units. Carefully read the various "owners" forums and you will soon realize that every single MH manufacturer has a big problem with quality control. NEW units worth hundreds of thousands of dollars are leaving the factories and the buyers have become the "crash test dummies" for all the QC problems. Days if not weeks are lost as the unit makes trip after trip back to the Dealer/Factory to get something fixed, adjusted or replaced.

If you would rather spend your time actually enjoying your RV/MH purchase then buy the very best "used" unit you can afford with COMPLETE service records & the bugs sorted-out. So what if the New unit Warrenty is gone.....if you can't sleep with the self insure risk, buy a good "Extended Warrenty" . If the seller cannot provide you with a complete service record, it is probably because the unit spent more time in the shop than on the road & they do not want to disclose this information. There is always someone who will fall in love with the floor plan or shiny paint and will not ask to see service records......this leads me to point #2.

2) My pet peeve on this forum is the advice that the floor plan is "everything" or the "if momma ain't happy nobody's happy" advice. I would argue that you should start by learning everything you can about...(1) build quality....what is it and how do you recognize it, (2) chassis design....what is CCC, GVWR, CGWR, IFS vrs solid beam, single vrs tag axle, a #12,000lb axle vrs a #14,000 lb etc. (3) drivetrain components....an ISC vrs an ISL...why is a two stage compression brake important? (4) What is an Allison 3000 transmission?

Some of these MH's are so poorly engineered they can't/won't drive down the highway....they are so inadequately powered that they can't get out of their own way or tow a moderately sized car....the chassis is so over-loaded they have virtually NO capacity to carry even your floaty toys before they are over weight....you hit a reasonably sized pothole and the cabinets fall off! BUT....they have great floor plans.

3) You will find that best built, best engineered units come with an answer to all of the above & more.....AND....they also have a full range of floor plan options and an amenities list-that will keep everyone "happy". I wouldn't go to an RV show or visit a dealer until I understood this stuff?....the uneducated are a salesman's dream as they dazzle you and your wife with corian countertops, flat screen TV's, solid tile floors. Hey....when you were 100 miles off-shore how important was the color of the sofa? When I sailed off-shore I know I was more interested in capsize/displacement ratios than galley countertops! Regardless, you can have both a well built unit and a fancy kitchen.

4) I wouldn't buy from a Dealer. Many will argue that when you buy from a Dealer you have someone/where to go with your problems.....now that's what I call a defeatist attitude. If you've done your homework, know what you are looking for, have proper service records, hire a qualified inspector (surveyor) .....why are you going to have problems? I have nothing against Dealers....many many are responsible serious business people, but they are in business to make money. I guess if you haven't got the time, motivation or energy to educate yourself then you'll need to find a Dealer you can trust to do the "heavy lifting" for you.

5) Why not learn everything you can before you start shopping.......there is no substitute for arming yourself with knowledge......remember...don't take a knife to a gunfight! Besides at some point you are going to have to learn about some of this stuff.

Oh well....my $0.02.....Many will not agree with any of this and they won't be wrong....just a different point of view or experience. Good luck....have fun!
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:33 PM   #13
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We have been very happy with our 2008 Meridian. Nice balance of size and power, with good fuel mileage. If you are considering used, I have full factory brochures for the 2005 and 2008 Meridians in PDF format that I can e-mail to you. Just send me a PM here at IRV2.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #14
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Newmar with comfort drive is the only way to go IMO

I looked at many others and Newmar packs a lot of options into a package deal .

Newmar was my choice over many other brands

Oh and save yourself a lot of time and effort go diesel .
YMMV
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