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Old 01-23-2015, 11:21 AM   #1
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Trading in my TT for a Motorhome

Looking for info on what to look for when purchasing a used class A motorhome. Do you look at mileage vs age; condition vs companies reputation. Is there some to avoid all together?
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:50 AM   #2
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There is no one way to do this. Research, budget, Research, family needs, Research, and Floor plans. Many good manufactures out there to choose from, I believe in Newmar. An idea to consider is, to rent one for a week or so, maybe hit an RV show or two, then go back to your beginning and make a decision. In my humble opinion only, used is one way to get some extras, but have an expert inspect your possible purchase before hand. Many used RV's have no warranty programs. The cost of repairs can be expensive. Your question is a good one; use the search function within this IRV2 to look at how others approached the purchase. Patience and research can save you money and heartache. Ask questions on this forum when you come across issues.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
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You need to give us more info. Gas or Diesel...age limit...what price range....what size?
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:09 PM   #4
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Always first and foremost ask for ALL of the maintenance records and reciepts. Records will give you history of how it was maintained. Hire a professional inspection they run about $300. Have the chassis inspected by a certified mechanic. Mileage, age means nothing.
Floor plan means everything. Then always check age of Tires, and all batteries.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:04 PM   #5
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We have owned two TTs (1969 Terry & 2004 Jayco JayFlight 29BHS), two TVs (1999 Dodge Ram 1500 & 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 SRW) and a Class C and Class A MH (2014 Jayco Greyhawk 31FS & 2014 Thor Palazzo 33.3). We spent about 2 - 3 years thinking of what MH to purchase. Unfortunately we purchased wrong. The wrong manufacturer that is. We were very happy with the 2004 Jayco JayFlight 29 BHS so we assumed that their motorized line would be the same build quality. We were incorrect. Anyway back on topic. There are two broad categories of Class C standard Class C motorhomes on the Ford E-450 chassis there are and some oddball entries from Mercedes and Ram ProMaster, and Super C motorhomes on several different chassis such as Freightliner M2 106 or the Ford F-550. The Class A universe is divided into Gas (Typically Ford F53) and Diesel Pushers (E.g. Freightliner Custom Chassis XCS, XCR etc.). The broad brush transaction cost ranges for new units are as follows:
Standard Class C
$50,000 Base model no frills leftover, no leveling jacks etc to $130,000 fully decked out with all options
Super C
$115,000 reasonably equipped with automatic leveling jacks to $500,000 (or more) fully decked out with a 50,000# tow rating
Class A gas
$80,000 base model leftover with few options to $200,000 high end with all major options and maximum payload
Class A Diesel
$139,000 Base model leftover fewer options (usually has automatic leveling jacks etc.) vinyl flooring etc. to $2,500,000 for a Prevost or similar that is maxed out

Standard Class C benefits:
Lower initial cost
Standard Gasoline fuel
Light weight (GVWR max of 14,500# with a GCWR max of 22,000)
Available from a wide variety of manufacturers
Generally lots of inventory
More shops will work on them than the Class A motorhomes (Note: most Ford dealers will not work on ANY motorhomes class C or otherwise, you must take it to a Ford Truck center)
Generally more sleeping areas available
Less expensive tires

Standard Class C cons
Very limited length
Limited tow rating (5,000# or 7,500# depending on coach manufacturer)
Limited range 400 – 500 miles on flat ground
Lower fuel economy
Very noisy in front especially on hills. The E-450 we had was so loud my DW and I could barely carry on a conversation without shouting.
Very limited payload in the longer coaches (31’ or more) Expect to see 1,000# to a max of 2,000# excluding water (fresh, black & grey) usually you will get a usable payload of about 1,000 before adding people or belongings
Limited storage capacity
Automatic leveling jacks are usually a $3,000 - $5,000 option that reduces payload (believe me this option is critical in a motorhome because you don’t want to be driving onto blocks in the middle of the night in the rain)
Coach systems are not as well integrated as in a Class A i.e. discreet low power inverter powering a single outlet, no inside propane gauge
Less expensive exterior wall construction
Much noisier generator gasoline generator
Usually does not come with an Automatic Generator start system
Harsh ride
Very long rear overhang causing difficulty entering and exiting driveways as well as damage to the driver’s side rear panel due to turning right too soon exiting fueling stations
Very limited water carrying capacity (ours was only 32 gallons nominal much less in practice)
Usually have only a single small Group 27 battery which only lasts a very short time and you must start the generator
You lose the cab area for usable space
Poor turning radius
Exposed plumbing and under side wiring
Very hot in the cab area

Super C pros
Good fuel economy (due to diesel engine)
Heavier weight (F-550 GVWR 19,500, GCWR 35,000 & Freightliner M2 106 GVWR 28,000, GCWR 33,000)
More power usually at least 2 Group 27 or 4 Group 27s or 4 GC2 batteries
Better integrated coach system i.e. many have automatic generator start systems
Excellent tow ratings – typically in the 10,000# range but can be up to 50,000# depending on the coach and drivetrain
Quiet diesel generator
Great inside and outside storage capacity
Large tanks typically 50 – 100 gallons fresh water
More fuel capacity and range typically 60 – 100 gallons of diesel translating into a fuel range of up to 1,000 miles on flat terrain
Better construction than the standard Class C units
Usually have heated wet bay (not all the F-550 units do)
Full engine brake (compression, turbo or other effective braking system however the F550 based units generally don't have this option)

Super C cons
Noisy ride (you here the engine running as well as the transmission)
Very expensive compared to standard Class C units – some M2 106 units are as expensive or more expensive than Class A Diesel pusher motorhomes
Long rear overhang
Harsh truck based ride (some have air rear suspension but most have spring suspension)
Poor turning radius (long wheelbase plus long rear overhang)

Class A gas pros
Full use of the floorplan
More storage inside and out
More options for layouts
More fuel capacity (a common capacity is 80 Gallons which is about 500 to 600 miles on flat ground)
May have heated bays
Reasonable turning radius
Moderate sized tanks
Lots of floorplans available
Lots of inventory
Better visibility most have at least a rearview camera system
Some cost about the same as a well-equipped Class C
Typically have automatic leveling jacks installed at the factory

Class A gas cons
Poor towing capacity typically no more than 5,000#
Very loud inside depending on floor and doghouse insulation
Longer rear overhang (be careful getting fuel like in the gas class C units)
Higher cost service – typically only at Ford Truck and motorhome shops that have limited hours of operation
Harsher ride with spring suspension
Coach systems are not as integrated

Class A diesel pusher benefits
Quiet ride no engine noise
Soft stable ride due to full air suspension
Typically have well integrated coach systems
Automatic Generator start
Panoramic front view
Very quiet diesel generator
Excellent turning radius for the size of the coach (a 33’ DP will have a 208” wheelbase and a 55 degree wheel cut and can turn around in a standard street)
Fantastic, fuel capacity (Typically starts at 90 Gallons and goes up to 200 gallons of diesel depending on chassis) gives a realistic range of 1,000 miles on flat ground.
Excellent water tank capacity – typically starting at 90 gallons and ending up at about 150 gallons
Well integrated coach systems
More living space for a given coach size
Engine exhaust braking system (Pac Brake, variable vane turbo or other great system)
Usually any truck diesel shop can work on them and many are open 24x7
Last a very long time
Long service intervals
Better manufacturer support
Have tow ratings starting at 5,000# to 50,000#, depending on coach some very inexpensive units have tow ratings of 10,000#
Large battery banks
Large residential refrigerator
Heated wet bay
Neatly run wiring
Weight ratings starting at about 26,000 GVWR up to 55,000# GVWR with a tag axle with GCWR ratings of 30,000 up to 80,000.

Class A diesel pusher cons
Limited inventory
Higher initial cost
Higher cost per hour for service
Typically more complex due to better integrated systems
Limited floorplans (I only found a few floorplans that had bunk beds and a 10,000# tow rating)


Having owned both I would not go back to a Class C simply due to the lack of payload and towing in the size of unit we needed that also had automatic leveling jacks. If you get a short Class C such as a 24’ that has no slides however is still on the E-450 chassis you can get good payload left after you load water, people, fuel, propane before you load your gear. You will still need to either put up with the heat and noise from the engine or spend a few thousand dollars paying a sound shop to install Hushmat or Dynamat. The super C units get rid of the payload problems for the most part (not all of them though) and have great tow ratings. However you still need to deal with the heat and noise from the engine. As well as the harsh ride typical of a truck. We did get the automatic leveling jack option which reduced our payload by about 500#. I would never get a MH without leveling jacks. It is just too dangerous to drive onto blocks. They are not like TTS or 5th wheels that you can just level side to side with blocks and use the front jacks to level front to rear. We are happy we went to a Class A diesel pusher. Should have done it in the first place.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:23 PM   #6
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Wow Mzturz?? So many misleading statements about a gas Class A
Poor towing capacity? What are you wanting as a TOAD? a tank perhaps?
High cost of service on chassis such as my 40$ oil changes 1x per year which can be done so easily by yourself.
Harsh ride?
My fridge is probably as big as yours, as are the holding tanks
No need for air brake endorsement or upgraded driver's license
When was the last time you considered one ? 1965?
Then again one must justify spending nearly 2x as much as opposed to gas coach
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dezolen View Post
Wow Mzturz?? So many misleading statements about a gas Class A
Poor towing capacity? What are you wanting as a TOAD? a tank perhaps?
High cost of service on chassis such as my 40$ oil changes 1x per year which can be done so easily by yourself.
Harsh ride?
My fridge is probably as big as yours, as are the holding tanks
No need for air brake endorsement or upgraded driver's license
When was the last time you considered one ? 1965?
Then again one must justify spending nearly 2x as much as opposed to gas coach
Poor towing: We could not find ANY F53 based class A motorhomes that have a tow rating over 5,000#. Many diesel (FRED or DP) units can tow over 10,000# direct from the factory. So, if you need to be able to carry more than 6 people or in my case 5 people, a stroller and other gear we needed to tow our Tahoe which weighs 5,500# according to GM however when I weighed it the actual weight was closer to 6,000#. If you don't believe me here is a link to the Ford Commercial F53 motorhome site: http://www.ford.com/commercial-truck...assamotorhome/
https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas...9_SB_specs.pdf


I haven't seen many F53 gas motorhomes with a 18 cubic foot refrigerator. We have a family of 5 unless my son is visiting and then it is 6 of us. We need the space. There are gas class A units that have larger holding tanks (my DP has 105 gallons of fresh and 43 gallons of black and grey but they are few and far between. Most gas coach manufacturers don't go up to the Ford maximum of 26,000 GVWR so you would be severely limited in payload as well. For example the Allegro 36LA has 70 gallons of fresh water, 80 gallons of gasoline 50 gallons of black and 66 gallons of grey water capacity. Maximum hitch rating of 5,000# but limited to a maximum GCWR of 30,000. MSRP without options: 167,086.75. Compare that to a similar DP 104 pounds of propane, 90 gallon diesel tank, 105 gallons of fresh water, 43 gallons of black and grey. It has a 10K tow rating with a maximum GCWR of 33,000# MSRP without options $204,000. However, what may not be commonly known is there is much more dealer and factory margin in DP units. So, massive discounts are easily available for DP units. This brings the delta for a DP to very small. There are DP units with MSRPs that have actual transaction ranges that start in the $130s.
Yep, every gas F53 motorhome (or E-450 motorhome for that matter) has spring suspension and rides like a truck especially over road seams. An air ride suspension is very different.

We looked as early as late last year right before we bought our new coach. We looked at gas Class A units and even if we gave up on the tow rating we still would have to deal with the heat and noise of the engine right between us.

I don't know what state you are from however most states including mine (Washington) do not require any special license for any "recreational" vehicle within legal weight, height and length limits i.e. 80,000 GCWR and 8' 6" wide and 13' 6" tall. I do know that there are a very few states that do require a non-commercial RV license for the larger coaches. However, that only affects a very few states and only the largest coaches.

The cost of a DP vs. Gas Class A or a diesel Super C is very fresh in my mind because we just purchased our new unit November 1st! I can assure you that the actual transaction costs for a new DP is most certainly NOT 2x a comparable gas class A. We looked very carefully. Typically for equivalent features you are going to get hit with a $20,000 - $30,000 delta for the DP. That gets you a Cummins commercial duty engine rated B50 (50% of the engines should go 1,000,000 miles before a major rebuild) and a commercial duty Allison transmission. You get an air ride suspension, air brakes, compression braking, twice the tow rating. More payload. Ford has extended their offerings into the "light medium duty" market vs. the DP units on the Freightliner Custom Chassis, Prevost or other heavy duty chassis manufacturer which are considered heavy truck or heavy medium duty. The Ford V10 is a fine motor and would serve anyone well as long as they understand the limitations. I have owned an RV with the V10 and the Ford 6 speed transmission. It is noisy and hot when climbing hills and mountains in the western US. Incidentally, I have also owned and worked on a GM 8.1L with an Allison 1000 transmission. It is also loud and hot when climbing hills. I never had significant problems with either drivetrain. Ford uses a 9,000# front axle and 17,500 rear axle on their shortest 26,000# unit. Compare that with a Freightliner Custom Chassis unit that has a 10,500 front axle and a 17,500 rear axle but the coach is only rated at 26,000! Ford is stretching their light duty components to barely get to the medium duty market whereas Freightliner is de-rating their heavy duty components to fit the medium duty market.

I don't believe my posting was at all misleading. I did in fact note in the cons the additional upfront cost of a DP vs. a comparable gas unit. I did the best I could based on the real world research I have done very recently. The OP can take my posting for what it is: one man's opinion. I do however work for a major truck manufacturing company and I have a Commercial Driver's license, including bus and school bus endorsements. I have worked on many types of engines and transmissions including the Ford V10 in most gas Class A units. I do actually have some credentials to back up what I am saying.

My intention is to give the OP the information I have learned with experience and research.
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:21 AM   #8
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Find a floor plan you really like or at least can live with comfortably. Make sure it is good for you when it is open, and especially when it is closed. Can you and your wife and your kids walk back to the bathroom with ease. Can you get things out of the frig. Will it be comfortable for passengers (children and later larger children). Just because it is a good deal, and clean and neat will mean nothing when you find there is not enough space for all. Example: we really liked our PaceArrow, a great motorhome, but after a knee replacement the engine cover (dog house) was to tall and to wide making getting out of the seats extremely difficult. We traded the MH. Many Class C's are great for families, but if you have back or mobility problems it will be difficult to get out of the front seats, really. Don't just sit in the seat, think about how you move after sitting for two hours or so.
Gas or diesel: For 35+ years we had gas motorhomes. Loved them all. The handled the western mountains just fine, and we always towed light weight car. (under 4k lbs). They are cheaper to maintain, but they are much noisier and bouncier. Engine up front and usually lighter suspension. We have our first diesel now, and Wow, so much quieter, such a softer ride. What a pleasure. But it was so much more expensive than all of our previous motorhomes. I could never have afforded diesel when the kids were young and we had the expenses of growing up.
So get what you want. Keep it in budget so you can afford to travel. The Ford V10 and the Workhorse 8.1 are both great powerplants.
Now I think only the Ford is available in new MHs.
Happy Trails.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quoted from Tiffin owner's forum posted by Mike and Cha
"As to gas vs diesel, we went with gas for several reasons, the maintenance being one of them. I do all my own maintenance that I can. An oil change is only about $45 if you do it yourself, and is even easier than doing it on a car.I can carry everything I need for an oil change on the road if I have to, and it only takes me about 30 minutes. Pretty much all you have to do engine wise for regular maintenance every 5000 miles, lubing it takes about 10 minutes, and all the other stuff you would have to do on any MH. Our MH in the diesel model, with the same floorplan was about $100,000 more, but the main factor was the diesel just seemed a little too complicated and maintenance intense for me.


As to the drive, ours was built on the 26,000 lb chassis as an upgrade. Along with that Newmar added some extra stabilizers, sway bars ect., and changed the rear end ratio. The MH drives and tracks well, doesn't get pushed around by wind or big rigs, and there is absolutely no need for aftermarket stuff to improve the drive/power. We get about 8mpg, it takes on any grades we have wanted with plenty of power, have had it up over passes of 8000 feet, the towhaul mode will get you down the grades with very little braking. The engine noise is minimal on the flat roads and increases when you are climbing or descending grades but is not really an issue and you can still carry on a conversation or listen to the radio. The way they are insulated you feel absolutely no engine heat. People who haven't driven the newer Ford F53 chassis commonly say they always felt engine heat or they were too loud, but that is just not true with the newer ones.


As to far far you drive, I personally don't think that really matters how far/much you drive, they all get you the same place. Although the diesel may have a smoother ride due to the air bags ect, when away from the big cities on the open road, the F53 chassis is a really smooth ride, no shakes and rattles ect. All of them gas or diesel are going to ride rougher on bad roads. Ours is comfortable enough and has plenty of storage space to full time if we wanted to. So far we have taken two trips where we were on the road for a month at a time, drove over 8000 miles so far, we were very comfortable and had no issues. Some will say when they fulltime they will go to the diesel as they will be driving more. Our experience looking at used diesels were they were fairly low mileage as a lot of them were fulltimers who tended to park their MH's in CG's for extended periods of time, thus not putting a lot of miles on them in ratio to their age. If all you plan on towing is a toad to do your exploring with when you are parked in a CG, you will be fine with a gas MH and really enjoy the experience."

I agree with this totally other than we chose the Tiffin 36LA as being better and can easily see spending 5 months at a time with our coach.
If I had an extra 100,000 $$$ I might be swayed but we can think of other things to do for the other 7 months a year
ps In Ontario and I'm sure many States anything over 24,500# requires at least a D license, possibly A and anything with air brakes an air brake endorsement
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dezolen View Post
Quoted from Tiffin owner's forum posted by Mike and Cha
"As to gas vs diesel, we went with gas for several reasons, the maintenance being one of them. I do all my own maintenance that I can. An oil change is only about $45 if you do it yourself, and is even easier than doing it on a car.I can carry everything I need for an oil change on the road if I have to, and it only takes me about 30 minutes. Pretty much all you have to do engine wise for regular maintenance every 5000 miles, lubing it takes about 10 minutes, and all the other stuff you would have to do on any MH. Our MH in the diesel model, with the same floorplan was about $100,000 more, but the main factor was the diesel just seemed a little too complicated and maintenance intense for me.


As to the drive, ours was built on the 26,000 lb chassis as an upgrade. Along with that Newmar added some extra stabilizers, sway bars ect., and changed the rear end ratio. The MH drives and tracks well, doesn't get pushed around by wind or big rigs, and there is absolutely no need for aftermarket stuff to improve the drive/power. We get about 8mpg, it takes on any grades we have wanted with plenty of power, have had it up over passes of 8000 feet, the towhaul mode will get you down the grades with very little braking. The engine noise is minimal on the flat roads and increases when you are climbing or descending grades but is not really an issue and you can still carry on a conversation or listen to the radio. The way they are insulated you feel absolutely no engine heat. People who haven't driven the newer Ford F53 chassis commonly say they always felt engine heat or they were too loud, but that is just not true with the newer ones.


As to far far you drive, I personally don't think that really matters how far/much you drive, they all get you the same place. Although the diesel may have a smoother ride due to the air bags ect, when away from the big cities on the open road, the F53 chassis is a really smooth ride, no shakes and rattles ect. All of them gas or diesel are going to ride rougher on bad roads. Ours is comfortable enough and has plenty of storage space to full time if we wanted to. So far we have taken two trips where we were on the road for a month at a time, drove over 8000 miles so far, we were very comfortable and had no issues. Some will say when they fulltime they will go to the diesel as they will be driving more. Our experience looking at used diesels were they were fairly low mileage as a lot of them were fulltimers who tended to park their MH's in CG's for extended periods of time, thus not putting a lot of miles on them in ratio to their age. If all you plan on towing is a toad to do your exploring with when you are parked in a CG, you will be fine with a gas MH and really enjoy the experience."

I agree with this totally other than we chose the Tiffin 36LA as being better and can easily see spending 5 months at a time with our coach.
If I had an extra 100,000 $$$ I might be swayed but we can think of other things to do for the other 7 months a year
ps In Ontario and I'm sure many States anything over 24,500# requires at least a D license, possibly A and anything with air brakes an air brake endorsement
Most US States (34 if I'm not mistaken) don't require any special license for RVs even ones with air brakes. Tiffin makes a fine RV we looked at them last year. Unfortunately we would have had to go to their Phaeton line to get a bunkhouse motorhome with more than 5,000# tow rating. Oh and the loud motorhome I'm talking about was a 2014! It does depend on how well the OEM insulates their units. After about $3,000 our 2014 was ok from a sound and heat perspective.
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Old 02-01-2015, 06:36 AM   #11
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Age vs Miles - We just went thru this several months ago. We sold our Toyota a couple years ago and was looking for something larger (everything is larger than the Toyota)

I'm a DIYer so I looked mainly at the truck chassis, but also considered the condition of the motorhome (major appliances work, no major water damage, roof, delamination exteriors)

Specifically, we looked for something around 30 ft, with a Ford V10 chassis. These are well proven, well documented, and there is a lot of user experience with this model.

With 60k miles, I anticipated doing mid life maintenance - New brakes all around, tranny flush, all new filters, all new tires, plugs, belts, maybe hoses.

With all this done, This vehicle should easily run another 5-7 years with no problems.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:02 AM   #12
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Thanks for the most informative info. on Gas vs Diesel. How anybody can call that misleading is beyond me.
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:28 AM   #13
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Msturtz had some good points for the most part other than this part which I totally disagree with
Quote
"Class A gas cons:
Poor towing capacity typically no more than 5,000#
Very loud inside depending on floor and doghouse insulation
Longer rear overhang (be careful getting fuel like in the gas class C units)
Higher cost service – typically only at Ford Truck and motorhome shops that have limited hours of operation
Harsher ride with spring suspension
Coach systems are not as integrated"
This is the misleading part. If 45$ a year is a high service cost for a new gas coach I can't imagine finding one cheaper
Harsh Ride I can drive with my coffee maker on the counter and it stays put and rattles are non existent
Only time we even hear the engine is when transm downshifts on steep hills. On relatively flat roads the only thing you may hear is wind noise
Poor towing? 5000 # is plenty in my books. Tow our CRV and jetski staying within capacity
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Old 02-01-2015, 04:41 PM   #14
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We found a 2014 leftover Diesel Pusher that was close in price to gas MH. I know if we went gas I'd always be second guessing the choice, but logic and the experience you see here from satisfied gas users prove to me its really a tossup. We had an old Pace Arrow (like an 82 I believe) and it was a real beast with a roaring 454 between the driver and the passenger. Turned out I had a bad torque converter on the cooling fan. Once I replaced that it was much quieter.
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