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Old 06-21-2011, 08:20 PM   #1
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Hi All! Long-time reader, first-time poster.

I'm a complete NOOB. Last year we purchased a used pop-up to get us off the ground and into a camper. I have a love/hate relationship with it so we've decided that we're going to upgrade at the end of this camping season when the prices are cheaper. We're not sure if we want a TT or a motorhome.

Before we do, I have a some questions and some clarifications that I've been searching for on here, but I haven't seen exact answers for and Google searches are largely unhelpful. I'm numbering them so you can just post the number and answer if you like.

1. In a motorhome if it has dash air and roof air, I assume the dash air does not cool the entire rig. Do you run the generator when you're driving or is there some magic that runs the rooftop air?

2. Does the toilet work when your'e driving...so if I'm a passenger and I need to potty I can just go in and have at it (Aim notwithstanding?)

3. If we go with the cabover motorhome, is there a weight limit for the cabover bed? I'd hate for that to be the only bed and us be over the weight limit.

4. We have friends who have a 5th wheel and they refrain from using the toilet for solid waste because they say it's easier to just use the campground facilities for #2 and the camper toilet for #1. Is this true? Is there a non-gross way around this? How do you broach this subject with people? I have been embarrassed to ask people just out of the blue.

5. Do you or your spouse sleep in the bed while the other one is driving? For some reason my dad thinks this is the expressway to being paraplegic. I don't see how.

6. My parter is against having A/C and an oven and I want both. I may not use them in conjunction with each other, but I know that I won't always go on a zillion mile trip into the mountains where you don't need A/C but do need heat, which is a must have. Sometimes I will just drive/drag the camper to a local state park for the get away. I can do this alone. Are there benefits to not having an oven or an A/C?

7. Age. I am not against having an older motorhome that has been taken care of, but anyone can say that it's been well cared for and for all I know it was used to haul cattle. Are there a few telltale signs that would be flags for even the greenest of buyers?

I think that's it for now, as most of my other questions have been answered in the forums, but these are just niggling questions that I want answer to and don't want to find out later that I've made a grievous error. THANKS!
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:40 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum. I'll take a stab at a few answers.

1) A common question... many, many folks run the generator while traveling in order to run the house A/C. Personally, our dash air seems to do a good job and since there's only the two of us we don't need the house air.

2) The toilet works great while traveling and this is one of the real benefits of a motorhome vs a trailer.

3) I don't know about the weight limit of the cab over bed in a class C but doubt it would be your primary bed.

4) Ah, the black tank topic. Don't be embarrassed about it. We've all got one we have to deal with. I've heard of people who won't use their toilet for #2 but I just don't get it. A huge benefit IMHO of owning your own rig is that you get to use your own toilet! Black tanks are not hard to maintain.

5) It's certainly possible for one to sleep in the bed while the other drives and it's probably no less safe than moving about the coach. We've never done it because we don't travel great distances at a time and our diesel pusher is very warm and loud in the bedroom while underway.

6) I'm not sure I understood your entire question but IMO owning a motorhome without A/C is a problem. These little buggers sit in the sun and can become their own oven. You certainly also want some sort of heater but we don't have a standard oven and don't miss it. We have a combination microwave/convection oven and they do a pretty good job.

7) How to get a good buy on an older rig is a question I'll leave to those with more expertise. I'm sure forking over a couple hundred bucks to a pro to inspect it will be suggested and makes sense to me. Also, prepare yourself mentally for owning a motorhome... don't expect every trip to be trouble free... learn how your systems work... learn to like tinkering with and fixing them. If you don't make that mental transition, you could find yourself in a hate/hate relationship with it...

Best of luck to you...

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Old 06-21-2011, 08:46 PM   #3
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Wow..Welcome to the forum
1. yes run the gen to run the ac...Dash ac if it is really a hot summer day
2. yes the pass. can go potty, make sure water pump is on...
3. no weight limit, just a compfort limit
4. we for the big event might use the campground potty, just to be nice to the rest of the group
5. your passengers should be seated with seat belts.
6. A/C Oven...Don't need an oven, never use ours, ever.. AC could not be without.
7. older mh no warranty, your gonna have to budget for a breakdown. 10yrs or younger, extended warranty, but be carefull, not all is covered.

Good Luck...Peace..D
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:51 PM   #4
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I don't know the answers to all of your questions, but I can tell you how we do it.

1. We run the generator and the central AC while traveling if the dash air can't keep up. It helps to keep the cat cool.

2 & 4. Our toilet is full service, even while underway. Aim is better if sitting. Use plenty of flushing water for solids and toilet paper and you won't have any trouble dumping. Black first, then gray tank when dumping.

5. Our bed is in the back and sometimes the passenger has been known to crawl in for a quick nap, if tired enough the engine noise lulls me to sleep.

6. Do you mean AC and furnace? Ours has both, plus the AC has a heat pump feature for mild heating.

I wouldn't use a stove oven for heat, just too dangerous, it's designed for baking cookies. You might have a choice of gas oven or a microwave/convection oven.

7. Tough question, find someone you trust that knows about RV's or hire a tech for inspection. Older rigs need maintenance, no question about it.

Hope this helps
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:59 PM   #5
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Agree with RickO. Just a few added thoughts...

A mh without A/C is a really bad idea unless you camp mostly in Canada. And if you try to sell it... Good Luck... There are no benefits to not having A/C. You can choose not to use it, but you can't choose to use it if it's not there and blistering hot.

My new to me Hurricane is the first (of 4) mh I have owned with an oven. It will mostly be used to store stuff. We do most cooking outside. Use the MW to heat things up. Can't think of a thing I want to heat the mh up with by baking.

In regards to buying an older model (That's all I've owned) ... Look for tell tale signs of leaks, delamination (exterior walls bulging), crawl under it an look for broken supports, blown air bags, fluid leaks, etc. If you don't feel comfortable doing this as RickO said pay to have it done. Regardless expect to have some problems and create a budget for them. And if you buy from a dealer and they say everything works fine, has been serviced, all is ship shape ....
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SiberCamper
Hi All! Long-time reader, first-time poster.

I'm a complete NOOB. Last year we purchased a used pop-up to get us off the ground and into a camper. I have a love/hate relationship with it so we've decided that we're going to upgrade at the end of this camping season when the prices are cheaper. We're not sure if we want a TT or a motorhome.

Before we do, I have a some questions and some clarifications that I've been searching for on here, but I haven't seen exact answers for and Google searches are largely unhelpful. I'm numbering them so you can just post the number and answer if you like.

1. In a motorhome if it has dash air and roof air, I assume the dash air does not cool the entire rig. Do you run the generator when you're driving or is there some magic that runs the rooftop air?

When it's really hot and the dash air is not cutting it anymore, we flip on the genset and run the house AC.


2. Does the toilet work when your'e driving...so if I'm a passenger and I need to potty I can just go in and have at it (Aim notwithstanding?)

Yes the toilet works while driving. This is a big advantage over a TT or 5er.

3. If we go with the cabover motorhome, is there a weight limit for the cabover bed? I'd hate for that to be the only bed and us be over the weight limit.

Sorry, don't know.

4. We have friends who have a 5th wheel and they refrain from using the toilet for solid waste because they say it's easier to just use the campground facilities for #2 and the camper toilet for #1. Is this true? Is there a non-gross way around this? How do you broach this subject with people? I have been embarrassed to ask people just out of the blue.

That sounds nuts. Our move from tents to a TT was driven mainly by my wife's desire to have our own potty. Proper chemical and dissolvable tissue use makes dumping an easy no mess chore.

5. Do you or your spouse sleep in the bed while the other one is driving? For some reason my dad thinks this is the expressway to being paraplegic. I don't see how.

No. Everyone is buckled up in seat belts while underway in our MH.

6. My parter is against having A/C and an oven and I want both. I may not use them in conjunction with each other, but I know that I won't always go on a zillion mile trip into the mountains where you don't need A/C but do need heat, which is a must have. Sometimes I will just drive/drag the camper to a local state park for the get away. I can do this alone. Are there benefits to not having an oven or an A/C?

I have never seen a TT, 5er or MH without an A/C. A real oven or convection microwave is a must for us. We are big TV dinner preparers.

7. Age. I am not against having an older motorhome that has been taken care of, but anyone can say that it's been well cared for and for all I know it was used to haul cattle. Are there a few telltale signs that would be flags for even the greenest of buyers?

Always new for us. See #4. I'm sure most owners of MH's do not follow proper procedures for black/gray tank use and maintenance. As my wife says of used MH's "YUCK!"

I think that's it for now, as most of my other questions have been answered in the forums, but these are just niggling questions that I want answer to and don't want to find out later that I've made a grievous error. THANKS!
See above
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:31 PM   #7
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Sure you can have an A/C and an oven. Most ovens operate on propane, not electricity, so you do not have to worry about using them in conjunction with one another. A micro-convection combo oven might be your concern.

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Old 06-21-2011, 10:38 PM   #8
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You guys rock! Thanks for all the answers. I was unclear on the oven, sorry about that. You never know when the urge will strike to make some of those tube biscuits. I don't know when I'll ever use a microwave while "camping." My partner thinks that all of this stuff inside is nonsense because we do everything outside.

Our last camping trip we couldn't keep the stove lit to save our lives because of the wind, no matter where we put it. I want to be able to cook inside and here in bear/mountain lion country we do not have food inside the popup. I want something with hard sides and I'm not getting any younger so the setup/takedown process could be easier and faster.

I don't mind the used part of the MH. I don't see where it's different from a house. Most of the beds I've seen on the used ones are in desperate need of replacement, so there's that. The cushions are no dirtier than the train I ride to work every day and we're nowhere near retirement, yet. He works in higher education and I work in HR so he has more time off in the summer and over vacations than I do, so right now it's mostly weekends and long weekends. I want to get my feet wet on a used model and then upgrade.

I don't mind the black water tank part of the toilet. I was wondering more about...klingons. Do you keep a brush handy? Is there water in the toilet? Because I'm remembering that there isn't water in the toilet like at home that it's dry and there's..."removal." Am I remembering this wrong? Right now we have a porta-pottie that is mostly for middle of the night stand up jobs.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:46 PM   #9
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Your just full of good questions. When driving, we often survive on just the dash air. However, out here in the Western desert, driving requires both dash air and any other A/C available. This means driving with the generator running. Depending on the generator, you burn about one or two gallons of gas per hour. Your generator should be able to handle the a/c capacity of the MH, one or two roof units or in some class A's the basement unit. Just a warning if your looking for a used MH, there have been a few threads noting that Coleman is no longer supporting the basement a/c. They work great, but if it fails, replacement parts can become a real problem.
Toilet works just fine while driving. You will need to turn on the pump to flush, but otherwise it is a fully functional bathroom facility. Personally, if we are not on a really flat, straight highway I always offer to pull over and stop to make the chore less stressful. Also helps the grandkids aim.
My wife and I often slept in the cabover when we had a C. It holds quite a bit of weight. Enough said.
In our MHs the potty has been for all business. Whether with a scouting troop, friends, family...dumping is easy and I do not have a problem with the chore.
Children, including adult children, often sleep while we drive. On a few occasions one of us has slept in back while the other drove. Usually we just shift each other in the front seats, so that the navigator can be less attentive, but keep the driver alert.
My wife loves the oven. She enjoys baking. We make cookies and cakes for the kids and grandkids, we make treats for group parties. Would not have a MH without an oven. As for A/C, if you intend to travel out West, you need all the cooling power you can generate. Because the insulation in an RV does not compare to a house, and because of the the size of A/C units in RV's, a rule of thumb is that you can expect to drop the outside temp by about 20 degrees. That's fine in many places, but if your in Las Vegas and the outside temp in July is 116 the inside temp is still very hot.
Age of an older MH is a personal choice based on cost, floor plan, type of usage you intend. When I traded my 8 year old C and later my 12 year old Holiday Rambler, whoever purchased the units got a good deal. They were in excellent condition, but our needs had changed. Personally, I feel the older 454 engine offered a great deal less performance in the mountains than the Ford V10 or the Workhorse. A good friend, who is a good mechanic, purchased a 15 year old small class A, rebuilt it and fortified it, and took his family to Alaska when the roads were still gravel and dirt. He came home and sold it cheap. It really all depends on the experience you want.
Hope this helps.
Happy Trails.
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:01 PM   #10
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we are on our first mh so this is what we are doing
1 we run dash air and roof top air if needed and while camped leave the roof air on all the time our furry child is there if we aren't
2 the toilet works like at the house we carry a brush in case but ours will let us leave water in the bowl and add extra and it's an 85 model so i'm sure newer rigs will for sure and disposal is simple and easy even for a beginner and under way is no problem
3 we use the cab over for storage to old and fat to fall out of bed at night
4 the best part for the wife is the sleeping in while i drive
5 and older motor home is great IF YOU ARE VERY MECHANICALLY INCLINED i bought mine right spent $3000.00 in upgrades and can go anywhere i want but to have this work done would break the bank be very careful if you don't have the skills it can be a heart breaking and budget breaking experience
we love ours just wish had more time to use it,good luck and happy rving.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:47 PM   #11
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Use the air, use the furnace, use the oven, use the toilet! Like most things in life, if you don't use it, you'll lose it! Just make sure you have water in the toilet before using, and most toilets nowadays have a hand held spray wand to use to help clean it if needed but we rarely need it with ours. I agree with those who say having your own toilet is one of the best reasons to have an RV in the first place. The dash air normally is enough to keep us cool while driving since it's up front where we are, but if needed on a really hot day we fire up the generator and run the roof air. As far as what type of RV, we've had a popup, travel trailer, class C, and now a class A, and they've all been the best at the time we had them and the way we were using them and the circumstances we were in. But for ease of use, nothing comes close to the Class A. The first couple times we used it I thought I was forgetting something, it was so easy to set up at the campground and start relaxing. I was used to a 30-45 minute setup routine once on the campsite before I could grab a beer and start having fun with my friends. With the Class A, just pull into the site, punch a couple buttons to level it and to extend the slideouts, step outside and hookup the electric and water, grab our chairs and we're camping!
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SiberCamper View Post
7. Age. I am not against having an older motorhome that has been taken care of, but anyone can say that it's been well cared for and for all I know it was used to haul cattle. Are there a few telltale signs that would be flags for even the greenest of buyers?
 
One sure-fire sign is the cow poop in the carpet.
 
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist such a great straight line.)
 
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:43 AM   #13
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I think that most of your questions have been answered. Whoever told you that not using the toilet was the thing to do must have been on drugs. The toilet is one of the best things that any camper, Motor home, 5th wheel or trailer has. It takes 5 minutes every once in a while to dump it. When you do buy something let us know what it is and some specific questions will be answered for you.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:59 AM   #14
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Sibercamper - thanks for the post, I too have learned a lot.
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