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Old 02-03-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
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Looking to buy Class A or C

We've been looking at class A and C motorhomes. I'm a fan of each for respective reasons. We'd like to cut our teeth on something for a season or two, in a lower budget price point, but not buy a headache. Then, after a year or two in it, understand from our experience what we like, don't like, want, don't want, etc. Then, make a purchase of perhaps something new, or a couple years old, gently used.

That being said, we are in the midwest, (Michigan) and expect our travel to be concentrated on the in our state here, as well, East Coast / New England / and some of the south, particularly, Florida.

We are a family of 4+1. My wife and I, our children, 4 and 6 and our 100lb dog. I've been looking at a lot of motorhomes lately, educating myself, getting a size relationship from each, etc. etc. I don't think we need or want anything much over 32 feet, and nothing smaller than 26 or so. The ability to sleep more than 4 is needed as we'll often have others with us, or wouldn't want that to rule out others coming along. Sleeping 6 is preferred.

That being said, if you were out beating the streets on craigslist, ebay, local dealers, RV sites, etc. what brands would you consider, and what would you most surly stay away from. Considering the amount of money, and the vintage we'd get, where do you personally think the best bang for the buck is.

I'm very mechanically inclined both in the engine compartment, electrical, plumbing, fabrication, wood, etc. so maintenance and repairs I'd do myself.

I appreciate your thoughts, suggestions and feedback. I did a quick swipe through the forum but didn't see anything specifically geared to my question(s) so if this thread has been discussed prior, or if any other applicable threads are suggeste3d reading, I'd appreciate those too.

Because we're considering both Class A and C's, I'm posting this in each respective forum to get feedback on both types of motorhomes.

Much thanks,

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Old 02-04-2012, 01:36 AM   #2
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When we started back in the rv lifestyle we purchased a used Fleetwood Bounder. It was 32' class A, no slide but was just the right size for us but then again it was just the two of us and our two little pups. Now with the extenda couch bed, and breaking down the dinette and the queen bed in the rear, that would give you the sleeping for six. I'm sure you will want a motorhome with a slide though for a little extra room after all your little furry friend is going to want his/her space. I'm thinking A over C only because of the extra storage room that you will have with the A. You do have to keep in mind the CCC of the motorhome though. Make sure you check that when looking at them. If you intend to tow a car that has to enter into the equation as well. You don't want to overload yourself for safety sake.
As far as brand I've mentioned Fleetwood but Winnebago makes a great product as well. Take your time looking as there are many to be had and the most important thing is to find the FLOORPLAN that will work best for you. Well I hope this helps a little and I'm sure someone elst will be along to give you some ideas as well. Good luck shopping and hope you find one soon.

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Old 02-04-2012, 02:21 AM   #3
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Bad Advice 4 U

Originally Posted by Quads View Post
We've been looking at class A and C motorhomes...
You're exactly where we were, somewhere around September a year ago.

I originally aimed at 30-footish older gassers, with wife's response when touring/driving them pushed us gradually upward. Our budget crept from $20-25K to "whatever it takes" in the interim.

In the end, the promise of frequent short excursions led us to diesel. If you're going to travel infrequently, gas is the better choice. But, those rigs are louder and less stable on the highway.

Given the sorry state of the market, my favorite bang-for-the-buck choice is the 2002-ish diesel rig for $40-45K. Decent rubber, never lived or smoked in. If there is a choice, the indoor-stored one wins. 'Has to smell good inside, eg no leakage. Mileage doesn't mean much: I bought one with 84k miles and perfect maintenance; it has given us a trouble-free year with nearly 7k more miles under our belts. In fact, models that have been driven lots tend to be offered at steep discounts. That is even better.

Know how to read the age of tires, find values at NADA RV on line (wholesale now is 78% of Low Retail). Make sure periodic maintenance has been done.

Have fun and be safe, no matter what you choose

We started this adventure as a way to avoid pet-friendly hotels doing dog competitions. Now, my wife (who was lukewarm about having an RV) is so hooked that she devotes much of her free time to planning our next RV adventure, is fully capable of taking it solo hauling the car.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:34 AM   #4
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Assuming you can find a suitable floor plan in either type, the deciding factor between class C or A might be how they feel when you drive. It might be worth the money to rent one of each for a weekend.

One thought: There are some very long C's, with the wheelbase stretched beyond what the factory manufactured. My casual viewing of these is that they all have lots of rear overhang. This is to cantilever most of the weight onto the rear wheels to avoid overloading the front suspension.

Originally Posted by Quads View Post
... Because we're considering both Class A and C's, I'm posting this in each respective forum to get feedback on both types of motorhomes.

Much thanks,
George Schweikle Lexington, KY
1999 Safari TREK 2830, FMCA 190830, Safari International chapter
1995 Safari TREK 2630, 1983 Winnebago Chieftain, 1976 Midas Mini
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve N Sal View Post
You do have to keep in mind the CCC of the motorhome though. Make sure you check that when looking at them.
"CCC" ???
(sorry, I'm a bit of a noob to the RV terms / abbreviations)

Thanks for the input for the others as well.
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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Hi Quads,
Welcome to iRV2. CCC = Cargo Carrying Capacity. Go to RV Safety, Merritt Island, Florida and read the definitions.

Based on where you are, don't over analyze the situation. Consider:

1. Floor plan sells the coach. Floor plan includes storage and living layout. Where will everyone and everything be during travel? Are there enough seat belts? Where will everyone be for bedtime? Where will everyone eat meals?
2. CCC = Make sure the coach will carry all your stuff and people + pet.
3. Hitch weight rating = Can the hitch tow a vehicle that is suitable for you?

My assumption is, after you work your plan and get some choices, you'll come back to iRV2 with additional questions. The above mentioned 3 items are to get you in the ballpark. There are underlying points that may need to be considered, but not at this point in your search.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:07 AM   #7
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Maybe another thing is who will drive it. Had a nice "C" for my wife and I and always wanted an "A" so we got one and I love it, but....... Now selling it to get back into a "C" because she won't drive our "A". I too would suggest renting an "A" and trying it out before deciding. If that doesn't do it, rent a "C". Once you decide , then first thing is look at floorplans and go from there. Did I mention Floorplan.... Floorplan???
John, Deb; & our dog, Benji, Forever in our hearts.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:19 AM   #8
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Generally speaking, Class C's are more "family oriented" because they typically have more sleeper space...bunks for kids, cabover, etc. As others have said, you should really learn more about carrying capacity because an overloaded RV is a very dangerous RV. If you are close to weight capacity then add extra people (and their stuff), you could easily exceed the maximum for the axles, etc.

I believe in another post you mentioned that you wanted to spend ~$15k (or was that someone else?) Anyhow, finding a good, solid motorhome in that price range may be iffy and you will likely do a lot of looking. (If that was not you, I apologize for mentioning it...but I believe your duplicate posts were removed.)
.2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C | 2012 Jeep Wrangler

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Old 02-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Sarah is on point about class c's generally having more sleeping positions. If it were me I would be looking for a c with 2 bunk beds a double in the rear and a cab over bunk. This will give you standard accommodations for 6 and possibily 2 more with a convertible dinette.
Steve Ownby
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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Thanks folks. Right now I'm not terribly concerned with the floorplan as I am the overall use, safety and general features of the motorhome. Split bath, kitchen on left, right, etc. isn't so much a concern. The C's offering of the bunkhouse over the drivers area is a huge selling point. AS that's where the kids will likely sleep, or on the typical foldout couch, or dinette table that folds down. Again, not terrible concerned about that at this point. I know I don't want the smaller class C's with the kitchen in the back.

I would foresee my wife driving periodically, but not often. And I'd only see her driving (in her conform zone) in ideal conditions, and behind the wheel of a C, not an A. That being said, I'm making the purchase making the assumption that I'd be doing 98% of the driving.

I'm sure after a season or two of use, we'll really understand what we want in the next one where we'll then scrutinize floorplans.

Keep the suggestions, pointers and tips coming. All are much appreciated.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:18 AM   #11
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As others have stated it is Floorplan, Floorplan and oh yea Floorplan more than anything else that will speak to you and the family. Yes the kids are young but after you get several in mind then take the kids for a look see and let them look around. I bet they will help in the choice and maybe even point out things that you did not see yourself to help in the decision. If you really are thinking maybe fulltime than try to find the one that you could be comfortable in now. Makes it less expensive if you take a little more time now to look instead of trying to trade in a few years. If you have friends that have one see about if you can borrow it for a weekend so that you all get a feel for the room in one and the driving. Cheaper than renting one but that is also an alternative.

We went from wanting a toy hauler to a class c to a gas class a then onto a dp class a 40ft. While this particular coach is only rated for 4 sleeping we could get more in there. We spent $26k on her. We got her for about $10k less than the NADA low value. Private party that wanted/needed to sell and a credit union that pre-approved us while out of state got her in our hands. Oh while they had listed the coach on several of the well known sites to sell it never showed up on them. We only found her when we happened to look in one of those boat/car for sale magazines that you see in stores at the front.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:25 AM   #12
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As your children are quite young you may want to consider what time they will go to bed and what time you will go to bed. If they are sleeping on the couch or table in the living area you will be relegated to the outside or the bedroom once they have gone to sleep. With a C class they can snooze away in the curtained off cab over bed while you continue to use the living area.

A class A with bunks in the rear would also work but I think you would be looking at a much longer vehicle to get that option.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Quads View Post
Thanks folks. Right now I'm not terribly concerned with the floorplan as I am the overall use, safety and general features of the motorhome. Split bath, kitchen on left, right, etc. isn't so much a concern.
When we say "floorplan" we are actually referring to the general livability of the plan and how it works for you and your family. You might think that a side-mounted TV is no biggie, but if you watch a lot of TV and have to turn your head sideways to watch...it's a biggie. Also the kitchen counterspace, whether the sleeping arrangements have to be "built" each night and re-arranged the next day, the amount of storage...so many factors enter into the enjoyment of the motorhome. Look at as many as you can and imagine yourself (and the family) in there. Where will everyone sit, eat, sleep? (Then imagine you are all stuck inside when a rainstorm keeps you indoors in a muddy campground. )
.2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C | 2012 Jeep Wrangler

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Old 02-05-2012, 05:10 AM   #14
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We went from a small class C to a small class A. Always wanted an A. The GB is easy to drive and park. We share the driving. This year we are pulling a small boat. I suspect I will be doing more of the driving. The main thing I over looked when we were shopping, was storage. We go on weekend trips and spend Sat. or Sun. away from the campground. By dumb luck we have enough storage available that we can pack food in the fridge Friday night and go. All clothes and outside items for camping are stowed easily. I took this for granted until we saw other A's that don't have the same room. We also have to take or own water to some places and our tank is too small. Look at the size of the tank. Our twenty gal. is not enough. Two days max when the two of us take a quick shower. The sleeping is really set up for two. Our mh would not be large enough for a family. If our kids would be younger we would have bought a 32/34 foot A. For two of us the 25 foot A is perfect. Good luck on your purchase. Can't wait for spring!, Tom

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