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Old 08-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #15
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This is such helpful information. I missed the comment about not choosing smaller because of ease of maneuverability, BEFORE I replied with that very misgiving! Yes, we have looked at SEVERAL retailers already.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #16
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For the same amount of money a new gasser would cost you...you could get a used diesel pusher. More power, nicer ride, nicer coach, more towing capacity, better MPG...and a much more pleasant driving experience.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:57 PM   #17
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Without touting specific brands, I would comment as others have.
1) Buy Big: Be sure to buy big enough so you're not feeling cramped and always bumping into each other. It won't seem "too big" for very long at all, but it will feel "too small" forever. Some requirements will dictate size for you. Ex: if you want enough room for a combo washer/dryer, you're pretty much talking minimum of 36ft.
2) Buy Quality: If you're going to live aboard for any lengthy periods, even if not actually full-time, you will rapidly become irked at relatively minor instances of shoddy workmanship-- much as you would (and possibly did) in your home. You can narrow and ease your search considerably by restricting yourself to manufacturers who a) have a solid reputation for quality work, and b) have had that solid reputation for a substantial number of years. A glittering reputation from a four year old company is worth nothing when your coach starts to fall apart at age eight or nine.
3) Buy Used: Large motorhomes are like large boats. Regardless of your plans they are, in the market's final analysis, big toys. There is little to no standardization in the production or marketing of the product, and they depreciate outrageously from the moment of purchase. But there is at least one consistency: as with many things, quality lasts. Buy a very high-end coach, about 2-4 years old. Let someone else eat that depreciation, and let someone else deal with the aggravation of straightening out the delivery errors. Your wallet and blood pressure will thank you.

For the record, we are absolutely happy with our 13 y/o DutchStar.

Good Luck to you!
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:57 AM   #18
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Our first and only RV is/was a 7 year old 38' DP. We have spent the last 11 years and 65,000 miles trying to decide if we really truly like it.....

No plan to upgrade yet.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:39 PM   #19
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Just a friendly word, stay out of the cities, there are lots of places to shop on the subburbs, like wallmart and you can stay in the parking lots of most of them. or truckstops bit noisey but you soon get used to that and never hear it. Most RV parks are on the outskirts of the cities, and if you want to go in, just use your toad.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:55 PM   #20
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Welcome, and enjow your retirement. I'm still driving my '87 Pace Arrow 34' w/454 Chevy. I can work on gas, not diesel. If you are mechanically inclined you can do most of the repairs on gas powered units. I'll drive the'87 til it drops, or I drop. Eddie Elk.
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #21
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Howdy and welcome! I'll just chime in to say that we love our 34' Fleetwood Bounder GASSER and have not regretted the purchase, ever. We don't have any trouble holding a conversation while driving, and our rig has a very comfortable ride. Everyone has different wants/needs, so make sure to select a floorplan and layout that feels right to you. You spend a lot more time in the "house" than driving down the road. It just isn't necessary to spend diesel $$ on a vacation RV, so don't get talked into something if it's not what you want to do. I understand what you mean about wanting to buy new; that is my feeling as well. Have fun and enjoy the search!
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:59 PM   #22
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These comments are all so very helpful in our process. Thanks to all!
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFXG View Post
Without touting specific brands, I would comment as others have.
1) Buy Big: Be sure to buy big enough so you're not feeling cramped and always bumping into each other. It won't seem "too big" for very long at all, but it will feel "too small" forever. Some requirements will dictate size for you. Ex: if you want enough room for a combo washer/dryer, you're pretty much talking minimum of 36ft.
2) Buy Quality: If you're going to live aboard for any lengthy periods, even if not actually full-time, you will rapidly become irked at relatively minor instances of shoddy workmanship-- much as you would (and possibly did) in your home. You can narrow and ease your search considerably by restricting yourself to manufacturers who a) have a solid reputation for quality work, and b) have had that solid reputation for a substantial number of years. A glittering reputation from a four year old company is worth nothing when your coach starts to fall apart at age eight or nine.
3) Buy Used: Large motorhomes are like large boats. Regardless of your plans they are, in the market's final analysis, big toys. There is little to no standardization in the production or marketing of the product, and they depreciate outrageously from the moment of purchase. But there is at least one consistency: as with many things, quality lasts. Buy a very high-end coach, about 2-4 years old. Let someone else eat that depreciation, and let someone else deal with the aggravation of straightening out the delivery errors. Your wallet and blood pressure will thank you.

For the record, we are absolutely happy with our 13 y/o DutchStar.

Good Luck to you!
How does a complete newbie know which companies have great reputations and have had for a long time?
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by bkford View Post
How does a complete newbie know which companies have great reputations and have had for a long time?
One of the problems today is that many manufacturers have gone under and others have been purchased by other companies. The good news is that the guts to these things are very common...Cummins/Cat engines, Onan generators, Allison transmissions, Dometic/Norcold appliances, etc.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:07 PM   #25
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I am a newbie who got bit by the RV bug. At first I was just planning on vacations but before long I became convinced that fulltime was what I wanted. We went to shows, visited dealers and searched online for an RV. We were convinced that a fifth wheel was what we wanted and came close to buying one but we didn't. Traveling with a fifth wheel means riding in a pickup truck and that wasnt appealing to us. Once we finally agreed on a motorhome it was a frenzy of excitement searching for one that fit our needs. We have a teenage son and two dogs. Bunk beds were a priority. We found a 2008 Winnebago Sightseer 35J with a Workhorse chassis. The price was right, the Winnebago Quality is excellent and 35 feet means we can access campgrounds and RV parks. In short, we love it.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkford View Post
How does a complete newbie know which companies have great reputations and have had for a long time?

On the top of the page there is a tab called "Owners Forums". Scan thru those forums. Most owners are partial to what they own. Be mindful of the "mine is the best".
Well mine is. Otherwise I would have bought something else.
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Old 08-10-2013, 02:54 AM   #27
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Quote:
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How does a complete newbie know which companies have great reputations and have had for a long time?
You immerse yourself in motorhome information, read a lot of owner forums, operational forums, etc., and you ask questions on this forum and others. You read and learn. You learn, for example, that Tiffin and Newmar have been around continuously for many years with stellar reputations. You will learn, for example, that Monaco had a grand quality reputation for many years, and then hit a bad patch and is now under new ownership. Many feel that the old Monaco is back with just as high a quality, and others wait to see how the new corporate culture may affect things in the long run.

That's how a newbie learns. That's how my wife and I learned, as did so many others here and elsewhere. You have to learn as many details as you can, or else you may just as well believe all the marketing stuff.

Good Luck with it!!
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:47 AM   #28
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My DW and I looked for almost 3 years. Our price point dictated older used. We will upgrade at retirement. As such we wanted best for buck. 1995 30' Winnebago Adventurer gasser is what we got. How does this apply to your search? 1. What companies have survived long term? 2. How strong is service-parts support? 3. What models have continued high demand such that they are still being manufactured after many years? 4. How strong is national network? 5. Top of line in either gas or DP get you some really nice upgrades.

Specifics about ours:

1. Small enough for any campground. It is so maneuverable in tight places.
3. Not enough power in East TN mountains (old Chevy 454). I don't like the sound of strain going up grade @35 MPH on interstate :-(. We don't mountain drive much, so was not a major issue. Sounds like you'll be in mountains frequently.
4. Purrs on open road@62 MPH, but this old coach is being pampered.
5. Do almost all my own engine maintenance work-comfortable with gas-so much lower cost for us to maintain.
6. Top of Winnebago's gas line, the Adventurer has great sound insulation. Easy to talk quietly while driving and can hardly hear generator when in bedroom.
7. Our top of line gasser also has heated basement; engine-heated hot water (water is very hot when we arrive without LP use on road); rear heater also from engine that keeps entire cabin cozy warm while driving; air-helper front coil springs (no they can't compete with air bar ride, but, they reduce truck feel and stabilize front sway); and independent front suspension. Interior has nice upgraded carpet and upholstery (still looks new); kitchen has double stainless sink with residential chrome faucets; and bathroom has porcelain toilet. Fiberglass roof is a must-have for me and Winnebago's roll-over tested superstructure is just plain solid.

Just more comparison data for you. Have fun! We loved our shopping years and will soon start again as we approach retirement (probably upgrade to Winnebago Tour DP).



Future plans
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