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Old 01-27-2013, 08:32 AM   #1
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Question New and looking to buy, Suggestions

So I haven't bought a Motorhome yet but I am currently looking. Thinking class C 24ftish Coachmen 1998-2001 with a ford V10 or a class A 30-32ft early 90s with a cummins and allison. This would be for a family of 4 with a 70lb bordercollie and a 6'4 mutant 15 year old boy.

why I am looking at those? Fuel mileage and reliablity and cost to buy. I can spend about $13k. I am young and don't mind working a little on a unit, wiring, redoing roof, tuning up generator, replacing carpet....... but really want something on a good heavy commerial type chassis.

I don't plan to tow anything. This will be for 100 mile trips around the area during summer and a trip from Portland to Arizon every other year.

Any comments on build quality of units, engines, known issues, how to buy....... would be appreciated from those that have already been through the buying/owning process.


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Old 01-27-2013, 08:41 AM   #2
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Howdy and welcome to the forums! My choice would be a class A for the usually larger floor space. Don't count out the gas models either. We have a 35 footer with the vortec 8.1 and get over 7 mpg while towing our KIA. In fact, our latest fill up was 8.1 mpg driving from St. Augustine Fl. to Brunswick Ga.

Richie, Rose and our Australian Terrier Harley
2004 Bounder 35R, 2012 ACME EZtow,2012 Kia Rio Hatchback
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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We have gas 28ft a class with slide ,no tow vehicle just wife and I plus 40lb dog , would not go any smaller for us .next rig will be 32-34 .
Like others I would suggest , gas 32-35 ft with slide . Good luck
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:52 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.
John, Deb; & our dog, Benji, Forever in our hearts.
2014 Coachmen Leprechaun 319DS V-10
2011 Jeep Liberty Jet & 2014 Jeep Wrangler
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:12 AM   #5
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Not too sure why you have settled On Only one type of RV, but thats your choice. Welcome. Before you settle on a MH have you considered other types of RV's yet? For your little use a MH will be a very expensive venture. Both in maintenance and cost of ownership. I can see i guess wanting to get up and walk around while moving. But that is really dangerous to do. A trailer and decent pickup would be far more flexible and cost less in maintenance and upkeep for instance. Plus you just plane get more for the money at the end of the day. Been through all three types, MH,TT and fiver. And I can tell you for certain unless you are towing a toad behind the MH you are totally stuck, unless you uproot and drive the MH to the store or what ever. Not a fun thing to do, especially if someone gets sick and has to go to the hospital.
But if that is your thing, then stick with a gas motor MH and go happy. What you will save in Initial cost will buy a lot of gasoline.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:21 AM   #6
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Owning an older MH is very unreliable. I have a neighbour with $10000 repairs one trip and not home yet. Old class Cs does share repairs with vans and makes scense. But camper/truck and even better trailer and truck is the more defective way to go.
We started with 1/4 ton Ranger and moved up later.
Barbara and Laurent, Hartland Big Country 3500RL. 39 ft long and 15500 GVW.
2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Hypertech Max Energy for Fuel mileage of 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. ScangaugeII for display..
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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We had a 1984 23ft C. Loved it. Slept 6. Did 45,000 miles in 7 years.
Next was A 1996 25ft A. Yeah only 24ft. Slept 4. Did 65,000 miles in 10 years. A wonderful machine.
Now, we have gone fulltime in a 2011 33ft A.
Size does not matter. It is how much you like it, and how much you USE it.
Best wishes for many miles and smiles, whatever you choose!
Dave and Nola, RVM1
The Journey is Our Destination!

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:02 AM   #8
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Why motorhome

Thanks for all the replies.

Why motorhome and not a trailer? Well it is simply due to the fact that I have no 4 door truck for my wife, 2 kids, big dog, small poodle, and I want the traveling to be part of the vacation. Right now we have a honda odessey we use on trips and traveling feels like more of a chore then an adventure. It is not comfortable at all. I remember playing cards on the road when I was younger, taking naps on a bed, dog riding on the dash, and all the other things that comes with a motorhome on a trip be it a 3hr drive to the coast or a 4 day trip across the country. It is kind of like taking a train vs a bus.

Repair costs between Class C gasser and Class A gasser? Is there a big difference? I never even thought of that but I guess any mechanic or ford/chevy dealer could work on it.

I looked yesterday at a Class A 1996 Winnebago Adventurer that is 34' with a slide on a ford chassis with a fuel injected 460 with a banks system on it. 68K miles they want $12K but I think I could get it for 10-11 with them putting new batteries and awnings on it. The one thing I liked about the vehicle was that I could work on the engine and get at everything easily. It wasn't all computerized, I could change plugs, belts, fluids, hoses, manifold....... easier then on a pickup with the same engine. What I didn't like was it was a big heavy long Coach on a light(ish) chassis. 68K miles, I figure the front end and wheel bearing will need work soon. Suspension? 1996 automatic transmission, that isn't a heavy truck transmission like an Allison??? ( don't know much about transmissions other then chevy couldn't build one for a Pickup in the 80s and early 90s that would last more then 120K miles if you towed with it, and that isn't a vehicle that gets parked for months or years where seals in the transmission dry out ). I would really like to hit the magic 10 MPG mark and this set up would be lucky to do 8 from what I have read. That is 20% higher fuel costs then a Class C with a V10. If I spend $1000 a year on gas for a V10 I would spend $1200 a year for the 460. Also I am not sure what ethenol will do to the 460's longevity. Which brings up another point, what Motorhomes are E85 compliant. Ethenol is going to separate in an 70 gallon tank, these engines will see 100% ethenol I imagine even if you filled up with 10% ethenol at the pump.

These are the things that keep me up at night thinking because I really don't have experience dealing with that. I would actually be more comfortable if they put a manual truck transmission in the motorhome for me. I grew up farming, I know how reliable a Cummins turbo diesel is, even if it is in a tractor covered in dust that only gets run 4 months out of the year or in a truck that is only used 2 months out of the year. Allison transmissions are the real deal and also proven. you can let 90 gallons of diesel sit in the tank 9 months or 19 months and it will be fine when you start it up, and it is less flamible if your fuel system starts leaking.

So is anyone familar with 1996 Winnebago Adventurers? My wife loves it because of the slider and the rig is beautiful inside and out. Should I expect that the front end won't make 100K without needing 2 grand in repairs? I do think the Winnebago is build good and I have much more faith in ford chassis then chevy chassis in this era.

Would it serve me better to limit myself to a V10 on a E350 or E450 chassis? What should I look at for a reliable transmission. Is it the same transmission in a 22' vs a 29', so the 22' is going to last longer?
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
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Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Hope you find just the right rig for your needs! Just poke around the different areas of the forum and you'll find all the info you need to make an informed decision!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:21 AM   #10
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As with any 17 year old vehicle things will need to be done. Consider 6 new tires, 3grand. Fluids service, 500 dollars. Tune up 200 dollars. Front eld alignment because you just dont know, 150 dollars. And that is just for starters. Now, how about appliance service? New refer 1500 dollars, water heater a thousand. Rot repair? Maybe, maybe not. New springs? Possibly. The list can go on and on. While it is quite possible to get a really nice 17 year old MH that needs nothing, and will go for many many more trouble free miles, the real world possability is that you could be dumping thousands into it to make it road worthy and caming friendly again. Are you prepared for that chance.
As for working on a van? As In Class C. They are very difficuly. Had a E350 Ford van with a 460 in it one time. Besides always running hot due to the confined engine bay, mundane things like changing the plugs was nearly an all day job. I could get to 5 of the plugs from outside, two from inside after removing the dog house and the remaining plug i had to access from under the van. And unless i had a large,assortment of the corrct tools they were simply not accessable. I am really not trying to discourage you from Buying, but at the same time i want you to be fully aware of what your getting into. Especially as a first time buyer. Personally since you are stuck with a MH i would take a serious look at your budget constraints and how much repairs and replacements would cost to make it road worthy and figure out if you can find something either a bit newer or a lot older for really cheap, planning to spend the money on it. If your going older i would spend no more than 8-10 grand, taking another 5K to fix it up. But thats just me. Good luck.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:51 AM   #11
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Hello and welcome. Personally, I think you are on the right track by considering a C Class. Typically they provide more available sleeping arrangements, which is important when traveling with a family. I'd advise looking to see what's available in your price range, considering the living area, floor plan, bathroom layout, etc. An RV is a money pit no matter how you approach it.

I'd like to suggest that you rent a motorhome and try it out. Before we owned our own, we rented several times for family vacations.

Sarah (RVM69), Hubby, and Harry the RVin' Dog
.......2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C | 2012 Jeep Wrangler

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