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Old 09-11-2016, 04:07 PM   #1
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Shopping for 30' Class A

We have been camping for 6 years now with our F-150/Travel Trailer combination and we are beginning the process of migrating to a 30' Class A Motorhome. We have been evaluating options online which can be very daunting. We believe we have narrowed our possibilities to the following: Newmar Baystar Sport 2903, Baystar 3004. Jayco Precept 31UL, Winnebago Vista LX 30T, or Coachman Mirada 31FW. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:05 PM   #2
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Just bought a 2017 Thor Hurricane 31s. We love it. Perfect size with lots of fun amenities. We added several upgrades to suspension (Bilstein shocks, Sumo bushings, F/R sway bars, rear stabilizers, Tru-Center....). Drives like a dream.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Drumster View Post
Just bought a 2017 Thor Hurricane 31s. We love it. Perfect size with lots of fun amenities. We added several upgrades to suspension (Bilstein shocks, Sumo bushings, F/R sway bars, rear stabilizers, Tru-Center....). Drives like a dream.
I have a older Hurricane 29D (a little over 30' long). I did all the upgrades you did, and feel pretty comfortable with the unit. I have now about 65K miles on the meter, and have not have had any major problems with the motorhome, and I hope it will last many more years!
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kenfowler View Post
We have been camping for 6 years now with our F-150/Travel Trailer combination and we are beginning the process of migrating to a 30' Class A Motorhome. We have been evaluating options online which can be very daunting. We believe we have narrowed our possibilities to the following: Newmar Baystar Sport 2903, Baystar 3004. Jayco Precept 31UL, Winnebago Vista LX 30T, or Coachman Mirada 31FW. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I have a 2015 Winnebago Vista 27N Class A, 29' 6" long on a Ford F53 Class A. I think the 30T is actually more like 32' long. I love my 27N , suggest you check them out.

As a rule Ford F53 class As don't handle well as delivered by manufacturers to customers, if you are going to be driving it a lot I would be sure to do the Cheap Handling Fix (CHF) right away. You can review that thread on the Ford F53 forum. I also suggest you consider adding a steering stabilizer. I did the CHF and added a Safe-T-Steer to my Vista to make it drive much better. I also added Airtabs and this also made an incremental improvement to driving enjoyment of the RV.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:16 PM   #5
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Another vote for a Hurricane 31S. It is our second RV. It was the light interior and outside kitchen that made the difference. Our Grandson thinks we bought the Hurricane because it has an overhead, drop down bed just for him
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:28 PM   #6
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From the models on your list, I would only consider the Newmars. I have a couple of friends with them and am impressed with the fit and finish. They have also been pretty much trouble free.

I owned a new 2013 Thor ACE. After 3 months traded that dog for a 2013 Winnebago Vista 27N. Like most short wheelbase Class A's it had some handling problems, and I cross my fingers every time I press the switch for the Schwintec slides. The 27N is very much better in quality and fit and finish compared to the ACE, (I would never consider another Thor product.) but it's still not up to the quality and reliability of a Newmar. If I had it to do over I would buy a Bay Star Sport.
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:46 PM   #7
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Great comment about F53's may not all come equipped with the same suspension set up's. (This is not Ford, it is the RV Manufactures that order the the chassis equipped how they want it. Chassis target to entry level coaches, come less equipped.)

I suspect if you compare how the Newmar F53 comes equipped, it will have many of the products installed OEM, or by Newmar, that other owners would need to add to obtain the same handling.

And in that lineup of coaches, I'd go with Newmar. But, if another coach mentioned has a interior layout that you like more then the Newmar - I'd give it strong consideration.

And this is not intended as a slam to the other coaches mentioned. They are in their manufacturers model lineup, and price points, to reach a certain pricing customer.

I do feel that Newmar is generally a better built coach the the ones mentioned. Vista would be second on my list. And just to be clear, I'm not familiar and have never looked at the Jayco unit - so no opinion on that unit.

And of course, opinions will, and do, vary!

But it is you the they buyer, that writes the check, so go with the unit that you feel best meets your needs, and budget point!

Best,
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:08 PM   #8
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Great comment about F53's may not all come equipped with the same suspension set up's. (This is not Ford, it is the RV Manufactures that order the the chassis equipped how they want it. Chassis target to entry level coaches, come less equipped.)

Best,
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At that point, a comparison between the chassis would be great. I have a hard time to believe that there is a dramatic difference between the chassis.

I compared my Hurricane chassis with the one of a Winnebago of he same age, and was not able to identify any difference. My son who worked on both could not see any difference either.

My unit came with a front and rear sway-bar, and I doubt that other manufacturers install the CHF at their facility.
The only other difference could be steering dampener, track bar and air springs. Do the Newmar's come with those?
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Old 09-13-2016, 06:42 AM   #9
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With regards to the F53 variations, the first option the RV builders have is the wheelbase. The Precept 31UL (which we considered 2 years ago I when we were shopping) has a very short wheelbase chassis for its overall length. Hense, you get a long rear over hang which contributes to some of the handling challenges I have read that 31UL owners have complained about. Our coach has a much longer wheelbase to overall length ratio than many if not most gas coaches.

On the 22k chassis, the builders also have an option from Ford of 19" or 22.5" wheels. I didn't realize this until I was helping a neighbor with a Hurricane, and have since confirmed.

Tiffin also has an option for Sumo springs (which we ordered), not sure about others builders.

I also ordered the "off the menu" option of the 24k chassis on our 31SA that is standard with the 22k on 22.5" wheels.

Im not going to get into the supposed handling issues with the F53, which has been disused elsewhere to no end. I'm fine with our Tiffin, I don't get pushed around by trucks, I don't have any sway problems, and I'm not concerned with any harshness. However, I like a firm ride in my cars and I don't expect it to have an "isolated" floaty Lexus ride. If you drive 15mph slower than the semis, and hug th center line, you are going to get blown around no matter what you drive........

As for the coaches listed, the Precept was where we started when looking for our first RV 2 years ago, once we quickly made the decision a 45' 5er was not really the right way to go for us. I tried to like a Winnebago, but no dealers in our area had the floor plans we were interested in. Thors just didn't do anything for us vs. the Precept.

Once we closely looked at Bounders, then saw the Tiffin a couple months later, the budget quickly changed and we ordered our 31SA.

Once we saw the Tiffin, we never looked much at Newmars, as the interiors are just too traditional for us, just a personal preference.........

Now, 18 months after delivery, 15,000 miles, over 7 months of travel, including 3 trips about a month long, and a 3 month 6000 mile trip that ends today, we have been very pleased with our choice, and no second guessing our decision vs. anything else, new / used, gas / diesel.

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Old 09-13-2016, 11:56 AM   #10
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With regards to the F53 variations, the first option the RV builders have is the wheelbase. The Precept 31UL (which we considered 2 years ago I when we were shopping) has a very short wheelbase chassis for its overall length. Hense, you get a long rear over hang which contributes to some of the handling challenges I have read that 31UL owners have complained about. Our coach has a much longer wheelbase to overall length ratio than many if not most gas coaches.



Regards
That might apply for longer coaches, but I doubt that any coach builder provides a short one like I have (barely 30' long) with a longer wheelbase than I have (190").
They might now install Sumo springs (that were not available when my unit was build), but I bet that I paid less for the installation of my Sumo's than the coach builder would have charged for them.
Things like Sumo's, track bar's, etc. are no finite decisions that can only be made by the coach builder. To call a unit a luxury coach, just because those components are installed by the factory, is pretty far fetched, because that would mean that my motorhome just was converted into a luxury coach because I have those components installed.

I specifically bought one of those "entry level" units, because I do not want slides (after I read about all the problems with those things), and I wanted a rather short unit to be able to park it at my house without any problems.

And when I discover features that I miss, or would want to have, I just install them and thus upgrade my motorhome into the "luxury coach" I want and not into something the coach builder tries to sell me.

I am of course lucky concerning the fact that my son is a master mechanic with the largest Ford dealer in the state, and he can do almost any technical modifications I want to have done to the unit.
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:26 AM   #11
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Just bought a 2017 Thor Hurricane 31s. We love it. Perfect size with lots of fun amenities. We added several upgrades to suspension (Bilstein shocks, Sumo bushings, F/R sway bars, rear stabilizers, Tru-Center....). Drives like a dream.
Drumster: Getting ready to buy a 31S - Going from a Class C with a longer wheelbase, somewhat concerned about the shorter wheelbase on the Class A. I installed shocks and sway bars on the Class C and was pleased with the handling improvement and plan to upgrade the new Class A as well. What brand of sway bars did you buy? Did you install yourself or have it done at a shop and where? WRT to SUMO - did you install Springs or Bushings? Thanks
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:18 AM   #12
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You should also look at the Jayco Alante Class A's. They range from 28'-32' and provide great value for your $, upgraded suspension on the standard F53 chassis and new ones have a 2yr bumper-to-bumper warranty.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:37 AM   #13
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We have a now not as new Bay Star Sport version of the 3004 and for the most part find it great. We would have gone with the bigger brother 3004, but our existing carport was the limiting factor. We looked at Winnebago, Hurricane (had on old 30Q), and a few others and just kept coming back to the Newmar. Just seem to have a better fit and finish.


There have been a few warranty items (nothing major) that just should not have been required, so Newmar is not perfect but that have done what it takes to fix things.


We looked at both the 2903 and the 3004 and opted for the 3004 for the bunk beds not so much for the bunks but for a place to put a cat and dog kennel. At some point though the bunks may be used for grand nephew or grand kids, but not right away. The problem we see with bunks in a 31 ft motorhome is the resultant lack of inside storage and closet space.


The Ford chassis has been perfect so far, but it is a bit thirsty compared to our older Chevy based motorhome, but as Ford is the only game in town now, it is what it is.


Good luck on your search, but you can't go wrong with a Newmar. If you have the time, go take the factory tour.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:58 AM   #14
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We have been camping for 6 years now with our F-150/Travel Trailer combination and we are beginning the process of migrating to a 30' Class A Motorhome. We have been evaluating options online which can be very daunting. We believe we have narrowed our possibilities to the following: Newmar Baystar Sport 2903, Baystar 3004. Jayco Precept 31UL, Winnebago Vista LX 30T, or Coachman Mirada 31FW. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I'd stick with Newmar, if it was me and be looking at a Canyon Star as well.
Also go for the longest wheelbase and the least amount of rear overhang for better handling.
While considering this, remember that most wish for larger, rather than smaller and usually trade accordingly.
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