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Old 10-22-2018, 11:05 AM   #1
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New to RVing almost decided


My name is Robin and my husband is Paul. My hobby and obsession is showing my dogs and I have shown in close to 40 states. With all of this travel, an RV is the obvious Next Step so that we can all go to the dog shows together and be comfortable. I have been researching for 8 months now and had just about settled on a Class A but being realistic about what I can afford as far as a payment and upkeep, a Class C may be a better option. I will continue to read through posts and reviews to get insight into the best options for either type considering comfort, ride, quality, etc. I'm looking forward to getting feedback from the longtime rvers and experts that have seen and done it all.

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Old 10-22-2018, 11:39 AM   #2
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Location: WI
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Class C for us.

We bought a new Class A (Forest River FR3 30DS) last year, drove it 2,200 miles and traded it for a Class C (Forest River Forester 3051). Why? Multiple reasons:

1. It's 1 foot less in height, so it's less susceptible to cross winds.

2. At a comparable length (32'), the C's wheelbase is 220" vs. the A's 190". That 2 1/2' difference, coupled with the height difference, made the C a much more stable driving experience.

3. Driving the C is like driving a pickup truck or van, because it is based on a Ford Econoline setup. You sit lower and the steering geometry is what you're used to from driving a passenger vehicle. With an A, you're driving a cabover bus - not that it was new to me, since I have driven buses in the past, but I couldn't find a comfortable sitting position. This difference became a bigger issue when:

4. I realized that there are none of the safety protections of a passenger vehicle in the A - no airbags, no significant rollover protection for the driver/passenger area - just you, your seat belt and the windshield.

There were trade-offs in making the move, other than the financial hit. We lost the ability to use the cockpit area as part of the living space. I lost the use of the built-in laptop computer tray in the passenger area, but I was able to built one in the C (see my other post on that). And there can be a significant less of underfloor storage due to the height differential. In our case we went from 112 cu. ft. to 81 which because of the shapes of the storage areas still worked out for us. But be aware that some C's can drop down to the 40-60 range, especially when they use up some of the space with things like outside kitchens or entertainment systems.

That's our experience and rationale. Good luck with your decision!

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Old 10-22-2018, 12:30 PM   #3
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All I can tell you is to do a lot of looking, and look at both class A and C units. We were considering both when we decided to move up from a smaller trailer and truck. We were looking at used units, and decided that the class A was a bigger bang for the buck due to several things:
1. Use of pivoting driver and passenger seats.
2. More/larger storage compartments down below!
3. Larger tanks for when we stop without having full hookups.
4. More floor space.

We did discuss the lack of airbags and related issues with a class A but decided that the class A was still preferable to a class C. BUT....that's just a personal preference...many folks are very happy class C owners!!

We were originally looking for older (2005-2008) units, but couldn't find what we were looking for. So many of them start having faded exteriors, worn carpeting and outdated layouts (especially for viewing the television) that after seeing the unit we purchased, we went over our finances and decided to spend more to purchase our 2012 Newmar Bay Star which was in excellent condition and we've been very happy owners.

So, good luck on your search and be open minded!

Final thought....after looking at quite a few units, we did start narrowing our search down to Newmar, Tiffin and Winnebago/Itasca gas motorhomes due to their quality and in some cases, larger tank capacities. We were also considering 2008 and earlier Holiday Rambler motor homes.
Retired but busier than ever!
2012 Newmar Bay Star 3302
5 Star Tune, SumoSprings, Roadmaster Steering Stabilizer, Blue Ox Avail
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Old 10-22-2018, 01:58 PM   #4
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Welcome. We started off in a C mostly full time and found it too small and not nearly enough storage. So moved up to a Class A and so happy we did.
Good luck
2018 Tiffin Allegro RED 37PA
2016 Veloster Toad
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Old 10-22-2018, 02:21 PM   #5
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Here is my advice:

1, Buy used, let someone else take that initial deprecation hit and work out the bugs. Also as first time buyers you are very unlikely to buy the right coach the first time around, regardless of how much research and planning you do. You should think of your first coach as a learning tool, buy something you think will work ok for you with the expectation of selling it in a couple of years.

After some time living with it you will come up with a list of things you love, and things you hate about it and many of the things you hate will be issues that you never even thought to consider while shopping, like side hinge vs top hinge cargo doors, or maybe wheel cut and potential for tail dragging. Or it may be something specific to the coach you bought like that cabinet door you repeatedly bash your head into when it is open.

2, Condition is very important on a used coach (even on a new one), get a professional RV inspection, the number one killer of RV's is wood rot, often caused by a leaking roof or slide seal. This can be hard to spot in its early stages and can be very expensive to repair.

3, Initial quality also matters, full body paint outlasts vinyl graphics, the same is true of real wood cabinets held together with screws vs particle board and staples, fiberglass, solid surface and steel plumbing fixtures outlast ones made from plastic as plastic gets brittle with age. (note many class C's have plastic sinks, and showers in order to save weight)
2002 Safari Trek 2830 on P32 Chassis with 8.1L
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Old 10-22-2018, 02:29 PM   #6
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X2 comment re full body paint. Faded and cracking decals are a problem with many used units and they're not cheap to replace....if you can get them. Also, it seems that full body paint will hold up longer if properly maintained and waxed as compared to basic fiberglass clad panels.

Also, buying used is a better option, especially for a first purchase. Don't pay the premium for new until you are sure it's what you want and you will keep it for quite a few years!
Retired but busier than ever!
2012 Newmar Bay Star 3302
5 Star Tune, SumoSprings, Roadmaster Steering Stabilizer, Blue Ox Avail
Brake Buddy, 2015 Chevy Malibu
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Old 10-22-2018, 02:31 PM   #7
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Pay close attention to the 'basement' storage in whatever you're looking at.
I would expect that you and your show dogs would require a lot 'stuff', so make sure you've got enough storage.
Inside, make sure there is storage for both food AND clothes. My wife and I looked at several where you could have enough of one or the other, but not both.
2013 Winnebago Sightseer 36V
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Old 10-22-2018, 04:36 PM   #8
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Also pay attention to the cargo carrying capacity (in pounds), many class C's are close to their limit from the factory.
2002 Safari Trek 2830 on P32 Chassis with 8.1L
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Old 10-22-2018, 06:18 PM   #9
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Welcome to IRV2. Check out RV.org. They rate RVs and have information on the selection and dealing process. Good RV hunting. Small wheelbases (<36 foot) tends to be less stable.
Scott Shaffer
1998 Alpine 36 SDS
Warrenton, Va.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:04 AM   #10
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Location: Columbus, MS
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Hi Robin & Paul! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Better get busy, you've got a lot of tire kicking to do!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!

Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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