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Old 03-29-2007, 04:56 PM   #1
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Hi! everyone! I'm a 55yr. old chap from NW England, married with a son & daughter (she works in the "West End" in London, both have flown the nest....phew! At last!) Anyhoo, for many years now the wife & I have planned for our retirement (ex-Social worker & teacher) to buy an RV, in the US, travel round your great, BIG country for up to a year and import it back to the UK. Lots of hoops to get through there, Visas, customs, shipping, & not least insurance, both medical & vehicle. It's a logistical nightmare!! However, we're quite determined to give it our best shot. The thing is,....in Britain you can only drive a vehicle, (RV or truck,) UP TO 7.5 tons, that's 7,500 KG in metric terms or 16,500lbs. GVW, without a HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) licence, or as it's now called, an LGV Licence (Large Goods Vehicle). Now, I happen to have one, being an ex-truck driver before Social work, but people don't generally have the HGV licence so if I sell the RV, it'd have to be below 7.5 tons. GVW. ie. below 16,500lbs GVWR. You all have so very many,RV manufacturers I'm completely swamped with info when I check RV Sales sites, but I can't suss out which manufacturers models/chassis are BELOW the 16,500 max.. BTW the max. length for any bus/coach/RV is 40ft. (12 Metres) in the Uk. I've got definite ideas of what specs. I want in an RV but I'm spending hours every night, drooling, wishing & dreaming but wasting my time unless I can figure the weight problem. Can any of you guys help me to work it out? Our budget when we manage to sell the house will only be around 40,000 to 50,000 dollars maximum, we'd stay with relatives in Ohio whilst we search, but not for too long, so I've got to narrow it down, somehow! Anybody help? I thank you in anticipation and wish you all well. We can't wait to see the US but, By Gum!! it's taking us years to get there. Cheers, everyone. Tom.
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:03 PM   #2
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Tom,
Consider working this quest backwards. Can you determine what USA made RVs are popular in the UK? I suggest this to minimize difficulty in reselling the RV and maximizing the price you will get for it. This single factor will narrow your choices and benefit you. While the longest vehicle you can have is 40 FT, I've spent a lot of time in England and Scottland. Unless your destinations are along "M" roads, I would stay away from the longer coaches. This assumes the above mentioned suggestion determines the UK market for USA RVs is shorter than 40 FT.

You are correct that one thing we have in the USA is many choices. Like you are finding, many choices can lead to no decision. Being that you will be staying in Ohio while looking, you will be near to the heart of where RV manufacturers are located. A new coach would relieve you of repair costs for the year you are touring. However, the $s mentioned in your OP, a new coach would, most likely, be gasoline powered (not diesel). I do not know if this is important, when returning to the UK. A used coach would buy you more RV, but there is a risk of maintenance and unknown problems. Keeping the weight under 16K lbs means you are looking at 25 FT or less for the coach length.

I will send you a PM (private message) with some interesting points to consider.
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:19 PM   #3
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Tom. My wife and I have travelled extensively in our 2007 Winnebago 26P (last year we did a 6 week, 19 state trip with our 2 cats, towing our Jeep Wrangler). It is more than adequate for 2 people and has a GVWR of 16,000 lbs. I don't know if you'll find many other Class A's under your 16,500lb limit. If you'd like any further details, PM me.
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:59 PM   #4
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How about a Class C (RV on a Van chassis) instead of a Class A? Most folks in the US don't realize that a "cavavan" in Europe is much smaller than what many here would even consider.
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Old 03-30-2007, 03:39 AM   #5
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ummalterman, welcome to iRV2.com. We are glad to have you join us here and look forward to helping you on your quest to finding the rig RV. You have gotten some goo info so far and I am sure there will be more to come. Good luck in the hunt and enjoy the website.
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Old 03-30-2007, 10:55 AM   #6
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Wow! Thanks, guys/Gals. I didn't expect such a quick response, it gladdens the heart. Considering some points made....because among other things, we want a washer/dryer combo onboard, it suggests we'd only get that in a longer length, maybe 34ft.up?

It's true the roads in England are painfully narrow, relatively speaking, but we use a smallish truck (7.5 ton) on a daily basis and it doesn't faze me at all, it's the same width as a US RV, just shorter, however, the single deck (yeah, we use lots of double- decker buses here!) bus/coach in common use is usually the full 12M (40ft.) and they're not usually a problem on the roads.

I'd considered a "C" class, as they seem good value but the space you get on an "A" class is incomparable, specially with even one slide-out, and they are the same width generally aren't they? We already own what's called a "Coachbuilt" motorhome here (old one) but you'd laugh at the space inside.

The European type motorhome, for which you can pay about 80,000$ typically, is about between a "B" and a "C" class in interior volume. It just wouldn't do for us on extended trips around Europe (LHD as in the US), we're only little guys, but we're looking for a bit more luxury/space after grafting for all our lives.

Dealers in American RV's over here have proliferated in recent years, primarily because the price you may pay in $ is the value in 's over here. The British Government/ Customs take huge amounts of Tax from people, usually some form of stealth tax, (don't get me going on that one!) and if you import a vehicle into England you pay about another 30%.

Even so, it's clearly worth it for dealers, although it's very complicated for an individual, I think it's worth the hassle & worry if you've got the right attitude. So, for us it's (ideally) an "A" class, 34ft.ish, permanent bed, WD combo, maybe just #1 slide, I'd like leather up front, oh! and importantly, Diesel if poss., even the older 6.5TD Chevy would be ok. Gas could be made to work for us if we could have an LPG conversion done here, but it's costly. Imagine you guys having to pay $8.60c for one gallon of diesel...gas is a little cheaper but it's cents.

I accept that we'd likely have to go for a gas RV, price-wise, but the weight remains the prime consideration for selling on when we're old & crumbly. It's suggested a new RV would be best but we don't have the money for it.

If I win the lottery this Saturday, I'll be buying a 40ft. HR Neptune with all the toys, and if I could ever find one, a cherry 1966 Rambler Classic 4 dr. in white. Ha Ha!! Dream on, Tom. Thanks again for your responses, hope my postings are clear enough. Cheers. Tom.
(The wife says Hi!..she's well impressed with American goodwill!)

P.S. I was told today that the most we could stay in the USA would be about 5 months (visas etc.) so that precludes us touring for a year and avoiding the 30% tax rip off we'd hoped to avoid on importing it, not least it'd take us years to explore America & meet you all!
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:31 PM   #7
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Tom,
To stay in North America longer than 6 months, try getting into Canada (part of the UK and much easier for you?) before or after your 6 months in the USA is up. Once you spend 6 months in Canada, you can reapply for entry into the USA. Besides, the Canadian Rocky Mountains are just as beautiful as the USA Rocky Mountains. In Canada, for the adventure of your life, go West over the Rocky Mountains. Go North into the Yukon Territory. Take Route 2 past Whitehorse way up North until you almost get to Dawson. Turn right onto Route 5 (Demster Highway). You can travel well into the artic circle! The village of Inuvik is the end of the road. Inuvik is almost on the Beaufort Sea! Before you get to Fort McPherson, there is a sign (big sign) that says you are now crossing the Artic circle. Get your picture taken at the sign. Post it here on iRV2. How many people can say they have been to the Artic Circle? Now that is a sightseeing trip of a lifetime.

With the additional requirements mentioned in your last post, it seems you have enough information to do a search using those requirements. Have you tried this? Also, search the dealer web sites with your requirements. The choices should be narrowed considerably.
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:08 PM   #8
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Tom--in your initial message you said you wanted to stay under 16,500 lbs GVWR. Even the Winnebago 29 footer comes in at 18,000. The 34 ft model is 20,500 lbs. I assume other manufacturers would be in the same ballpark (or cricket ground). The 31 foot Class C is only 14,050 lbs, but you do get less cargo carrying capacity. I believe you may have to "scale down" your size expectations to stay under 16,500lbs, or accept the higher weight and whatever that may entail regarding British license requirements.
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:08 AM   #9
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Thanks! Gary & fellow Americans. Well,as I think I said, I actually DO possess the necessary licence for any size RV but Janet & I are thinking of the re-sale situation within Britain, as most folks don't have one. I take all your points and it seems you're dead right, there's very few chassis that are under 7.5 ton.
There are lots of RVs for sale here that state "car Licence" but I'm sure they're wrong, and fall foul of the law, which is bad if an elderly (well, older) couple buy one not realising this. I have a small dilemma then, which is down to personal taste & requirements of course. Do I come to the US and look for an RV with all the boxes ticked that I want, ie. washer dryer, slide, leather, Cummins diesel etc. or compromise to sell on easier? Hmmm.Do any of you guys live full-time on your RVs and if so, what do you think's essential? I wouldn't want to have to go looking for a Laundramat in strange towns, for instance, and although an older, higher quality RV may have better fittings, a modern slide would feel much less cramped. Are slides really worth going for? I read that they can be troublesome, particularly on Fleetwoods for some reason? Maybe that's just an extra lively complaining forum, though!! Lastly, what's the score over there with what they call "Wild camping" here, somewhat frowned on by some fuddy-duddys! ie. Not on sites. Sorry for rambling on. Any thoughts on this will be welcome. Cheers. Tom & Janet.
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by ummalterman:
Thanks! Gary & fellow Americans.
Actually old chap, I'm Australian, but I've lived in the US for over 20 years!

If you have the relevant license, I think you should go for what you and your wife want for yourselves, and not worry too much about reselling years from now. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

Our motorhome has 2 slides that have been completely trouble free, and I wouldn't even consider going without them--the extra room they give you is definately woth the cost. I don't know about Fleetwoods, but I think it's fair to say that any motorhome will have its teething problems in one area or another.

As for "wild camping" we have 2 terms used here--"dry camping" which may be in a legitimate campground but without hookups (such as many State and Federal parks), and "boondocking" which is similar but can also include camping by the side of the road, or a river, for example, and not necessarily in a campground. (At least that is my interpretation of the terms--others may disagree.) If you scroll further down the Forum menu page you will find a whole section there under "RV lifestyles" about boondocking and also about full timing. Haven't done it myself--my wife likes her luxuries!

Cheers, Gary.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:11 PM   #11
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(I'm posting; so much for my lurker status.)

The Class C my mother (some know her around these parts as Lorna) and father uses is rated 22' (which means it's actually less, but I'm not sure by how much) and they full-time in it.

My first question; how long you plan to be in America?

My second; why not simply rent one?
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:47 PM   #12
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Hi! Thanks for the replies. ..Gary, well Duh! Tom, you'd think I'd twig with a name like wombat. (specially since I've checked out your site-very impressive.) Thanks for the advice and taking the time to reply, Schinske. (Is that a first name?) You weren't lurking for long-2 days! My wife Janet & I have been planning our retirement and "Travel Plan" for about 17yrs.. I bought a full-size coach (38ft.) in 1989, which I stripped out and started working on to convert to a mobile home.
About eleven years later, still not finished by a long way, we sold it for spares after paying rent in a muddy farmer's field all that time. We promised ourselves...one day, but no more working on them. So, weighing all pros & cons, an American RV ticks all the boxes. Gary's comments about no compromise is what I really wanted to hear, I think, so thanks for confirming it. We want to finally own an "RV" with all the comforts of home and go live our dream, travelling around Europe almost full-time until we're too old/senile, or just fed-up of it.

We're lucky in Britain I feel, because we have all the different countries/cultures of Europe right on our doorstep, (yet separate) more than enough to fill our days learning French/German/Italian/Spanish etc.,and as we're part of the EEC, money's even in "Euros" once on the continent! Just 21 miles across the English channel! how good is that??!!

I always wanted to see America though, and considering the price differential on RV's there & here, if you're willing to do the research/form-filling/cash outlay/ dealing with Customs & Excise etc. (a nightmare and a risk, which is why most people give up on the idea) then one can break even, or perhaps make a tiny profit by buying in America and importing to England. the US economy profits, and we lose nothing except my sanity, but then we get to see the USA, depending on visas, (someone told me 90 days maximum now,) and US Immigration are VERY strict. So I research as best I can with your help. Janet's terrified I'll make a big mistake with the wrong RV and lose all our life-savings!!...I don't think so! er, well I hope not. There's an AWFUL lot to consider and just reading your replies helps me clarify things. It really helps so THANKS again.

Question: What does "Clear Title" mean? in the UK we have what's called the DVLA (DMV?) who issue each vehicle with a log book (V5 form)which has all vehicle details/no.s and the "Registered Keeper" name/address. The Registration no.& plate stays the same throughout the vehicles life and only keeper's details change as it gets sold on. Specific annual insurance has to be in force for each vehicle,usually with named driver(s) but this is a separate matter. After 3yrs. from new, all vehicles have the annual (strict) Ministry of Transport test (MOT) to stay on the road. So, a vehicle here has to have 3 things valid to be used on the road: "log sheet" V5 registration document, Insurance cert. and a current MOT cert.. All Drivers have to have the right licence for the vehicle size/wt. of course, hence my comments/worries about 7.5 tons or under RVs..
I hope some of my info about the UK is of interest to you all, by the way!!

Question: If I bought an RV from one of you guys, say,-second-hand of course, there's no "Sales Tax" to be paid as well, is there?

Over here, it would only be a dealer/Business that charged the dreaded (stealth) Value Added Tax, (same as your sales tax) which is 17 and a half percent. A private seller would just charge the asking price, is that right?

Question: The standard width of RV A class in the US is 100", correct? Is a "wide-body" type wider than this? UK law says max. width is 2.55M, which is actually 100" plus 3/8ths of an inch EXACTLY. Anybody know Exact measurements? This is one of the most costly mistakes I could make, as it couldn't pass a UK MOT test & therefore can't be used. Effectively a $80,000 chicken coop! oops! Life savings gone.
Ahh, enough from the Limey, already!! Thanks for listening guys. Tom.
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Old 04-07-2007, 05:13 PM   #13
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G'day Tom. We are glad to be of any help answering your questions--that's one of the reasons why this forum exists!

To answer some of your questions:

1. Clear title is the phrase used to state that the owner of real property owns it free and clear of encumbrances.

2. Sales Tax. If you buy a car (new or used) from a dealer, they'll take care of this for you. If you buy a car from a private party, you pay sales tax when you register it. The seller has to give you Bill of Sale with the price of the car indicated. In California the Bill of Sale is a DMV form REG 135. I'm not sure about other states, but I'm sure it's probably a similar process. Amount of sales tax (percentage) depends on the county. In Orange county it is 7.25%, in LA county it is 8.25% (I think.)

3. Maximum width. THIS MAY BE A PROBLEM FOR YOU! The general rule is that the total outside width of any vehicle or its load shall not exceed 102 inches (8 foot 6 inches). That's why Winnebago makes all theirs 101.5 inches wide (2.578 metres). Fleetwood lists theirs at the full 102 inches (2.59 metres). How strict are they about the 2.55 metre thing? Might be worth a phone call to the relevant authority.

Keep the questions coming! We hope to see you and your wife touring around over here one day.
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Old 04-07-2007, 05:59 PM   #14
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Me again! If it turns out that the width issue would prevent you from taking a US made RV back to GB, I stumbled across this webpage that may be of interest to you.

Cheers, Gary.

http://www.motorhomeworld.com/USShipTour.htm
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