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Old 07-17-2013, 12:02 AM   #1
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Thoughts on moving from a Class A to Class C

Hello,
My parents are making an RV decision and they’d like some input from the RV community. They don’t use the internet much so I am posting.
They currently own a 2012 Winnebago Vista 26P Class A. They have had it for one year and 6,000 miles. Their previous motorhome was a 2005 Winnebago Minnie Winnie class C – 28 feet I think – that they owned for seven years and over 50k miles. They tow a Jeep Wrangler.
My mom loves the Vista. It is spacious with two slides. She likes the floorplan. My dad does not like the Vista for two reasons. First, he doesn’t like the way it handles. It doesn’t feel as much like a car as the class C he was used to. Second, he doesn’t like the fuel economy. The Vista gets 7mpg. The class C got 9mpg. I know 2mpg is a small difference but that is 20%.
They are now thinking of getting a 2014 Winnebago Aspect 27K class C. My dad thinks it will get 9MPG towing the Jeep and it will handle the same way he remembers the previous class C handles.
They have been to four dealers to get a price on the upgrade (or downgrade depending on perspective since the new unit is smaller.) With full body paint and jacks, the 2014 will have a MSRP of about $118k which is about $10k more than the MSRP on the 2012 Vista. The dealers have wanted a pre-tax difference of between $40k and $23k to do the deal. That’s a wide range. My guess is some are more optimistic on how much they could sell the traded-in Vista for.
Looking for thoughts on Aspect 27K. Could it get 9mpg towing the Jeep? Is it a well-liked coach? Is there anything else they should be thinking about? I know it all boils down to a decision that only they can make, but they are curious to get thoughts from the community. Thanks.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:08 AM   #2
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That's a lot of money for less RV. The 2 mpg difference ( if he gets it ) will most likely never make up the the $ 23-40,000. How about getting some driving tips / lessons to feel more comfortable in the class A ?
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:09 AM   #3
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I have to agree with Cliff, based on everything you said.

I assume the Vista is on a Ford chassis which has the 6.8L V10. At 6000 mi, that engine really isn't broken in yet. The mileage will improve a bit over time. On the Ford chassis, you can greatly improve handling for zero cost. All you need is the ability to remove 4 bolts and move them to another position on the front and rear sway bars. If not, any mechanic could do it in less than an hour for little cost.

The Vista should have a front trac bar which also improves handling. He could have a rear trac bar put on the rear. This would improve any "tail wagging" issues if he's having any. Other things that can cause issues, improper tire inflation, front end alignment and improper loading (too much weight in back).

Assuming the Aspect is also a Ford, it will have the identical V10 motor. Now this one will need 10k miles before it's mpg gets to where it will be. I have no idea why he thinks he will gain 2mpg on a coach with the same length, engine, trans and approx weight. *IF* he got 2mpg better (which I seriously doubt), that's only a savings of $600 a year based on 6000 mi and $3.50 a gal.

Your mother likes the Vista for all the reasons people switch to an A. We did this several years ago and would NEVER by another C.

IMHO, your father is making a huge, selfish and expensive mistake.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:46 AM   #4
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There are a lot of things you can do to fix "handling problems". To do that, he needs to be more detailed about what he means by poor handling.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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As we all know, you can throw a lot of money at an RV and not get the desired results! Depending on where you live, there are shops that deal directly with handling issues like Hendersons.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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Thank you for the thoughts. Just to clarify a couple things.
The reason my dad thinks the class C will get better gas mileage is because it is two feet shorter in height, has a sloped front end, and weighs a couple thousand pounds less. Agreed it is the same engine.
As far as being “selfish” I don’t think that is the issue. Both need to be happy J
Although the class A is larger, the class C is a higher-end unit. It has full body paint, a skylight, LED lights (much better when dry camping.) That is how they justify the $23k difference, plus tax.
They typically drive 10,000 per year. This year was a fluke for a variety of reasons. So 7 vs 9 mpg would be a gas savings of $1,300/year based on $4 per gallon – a typical West Coast price.
I will definitely pass along the advice about handling improvements. If that is an inexpensive correction that might be the way to go. Sorry I don’t have more details on the specific issue he has with handling. I noticed the class A has leaf springs in front. The class C has independent front suspension which might explain it. The class A has a wheelbase of 158 inches. The class C is 200 inches. Even though they are the same length.
Thank you all. Great forum.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:00 PM   #7
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I don't think 6k miles is enough miles to develop an accurate number of MPG's, and I assume your dad has driven one or more of the Aspect's to know he like how it rides and drives. All I know is that for $23k or $40k you can buy a heck of a lot of gas. But, their life, their money, their decision.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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The Class C IFS and longer wheel base would seem to help in the handling department. Being lower might help but I would think it could have a slightly higher center of gravity because of storage in the coach without a big basement...maybe.

HMMMM...logically it is hard to argue those aspects.

Still...in the long run it matters that pilot and co-pilot are happy together.

Personally, I would not put a huge emphasis on the big "IF" of improved MPG. That is unknowable. Features and handling become primary. At 10K miles a year, handling would be very important for sure. I think he just needs to drive the Aspect a bit to see if handling is that much better.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:13 PM   #9
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I have an older Aspect. I get 8mpg towing a Subaru Impreza. Love the Aspect but hate the miles per gallon.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baraff View Post
I have an older Aspect. I get 8mpg towing a Subaru Impreza. Love the Aspect but hate the miles per gallon.
I got 6 mpg with my old C . 7.5 - 8 mpg with the A, 5ft longer, more storage and a big slide made it a no brainer.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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First, Read the article on cheap fix in this forum and price front and rear add on kits. Might just fix the problem and save you some real cash in the long run. I just traded in a 2011 Vista 26P with only 3,900 miles on it for a new Thor 34XD on the new F-53 suspension, so I can definitely see from where your Dad is coming. My first mistake was that for DW and I and our two dogs, it was just too small a unit. Second, the handling and ride on that short of a chassis was worse was than anything I've ever owned. On the interstates where I tried to maintain 62 + mph, I had to constantly fight the wandering and I don't think I ever got even up to 7 mpg towing or not. I was just to the point of having the steering and rear end kits installed or going back to a large class c when we took our first long trip or possibly . Last minute, right in the middle of the long trip, just simply decided that with the small size and poor steering/handling and poor fuel to take a bath on the value and to trade it in for a larger unit. The trip back in the larger unit was a real dream in comparison and got between 6.9 and 7.5 mph on the new engine while towing.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:09 PM   #12
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First, Read the article on cheap fix in this forum and price front and rear add on kits. Might just fix the problem and save you some real cash in the long run. I just traded in a 2011 Vista 26P with only 3,900 miles on it for a new Thor 34XD on the new F-53 suspension, so I can definitely see from where your Dad is coming. My first mistake was that for DW and I and our two dogs, it was just too small a unit. Second, the handling and ride on that short of a chassis was worse was than anything I've ever owned. On the interstates where I tried to maintain 62 + mph, I had to constantly fight the wandering and I don't think I ever got even up to 7 mpg towing or not. I was just to the point of having the steering and rear end kits installed or going back to a large class c when we took our first long trip or possibly . Last minute, right in the middle of the long trip, just simply decided that with the small size and poor steering/handling and poor fuel to take a bath on the value and to trade it in for a larger unit. The trip back in the larger unit was a real dream in comparison and got between 6.9 and 7.5 mph on the new engine while towing.
"Second, the handling and ride on that short of a chassis was worse was than anything I've ever owned. On the interstates where I tried to maintain 62 + mph, I had to constantly fight the wandering"

Yes, I think that is my dad's issue. He says he is constantly making steering corrections to keep the coach headed the correct direction. Maybe it is just the short chassis - and you can't do much about that.

The funny (or not so funny) thing is my dad had real concerns when buying the class A with 158 inch wheelbase. But he figured if it is Winnebago it must be properly engineered.
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:11 PM   #13
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Even Class C's s can have problems with handling. We bought our Aspect used, with 50,000 miles, and it wandered all over the road. I had the front end aligned, and bought a Steer-Safe. I also had it weighed and adjusted the tire pressures. Now I can drive it one-handed if I want, only gets pushed around a very little bit by passing trucks.
Currently it's in the shop getting new Bilstein shocks all around.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:11 PM   #14
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Handling can be drastically improved too by having a four corner weight done to more accurately set the PSI on the tires. Most tires from the manufacturer's factory are at their highest allowed PSI. Often that translates to a very harsh ride and squirrely handling. Getting the coach weighed (stock it up with water and fuel when you do it) will often involve reducing the PSI on the tires for a softer ride.

I've had a class A gas coach and now a class A diesel. Proper inflation of the tires based on your estimated max weight makes a huge difference. It can be a night and day difference on handling.
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