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Old 07-10-2014, 06:26 PM   #1
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Family of 4+ looking to buy 1st MH – Looking for advice & direction

Hi – New member here! Been lurking for a few months now, and as I read & learn more, I decided to create an account and ask for help.
My wife and I have 2 kids now – one almost 3, and the other born just yesterday. We also have a German Shepherd we’d like to take along. We’ve been discussing a MH for a while now as air travel has become a traumatic & stressful experience to us along with us wanting to explore more of the country. My goal is to make a purchase on a MH by next summer.

My dilemma is that I’m not really sure what suits our needs best? I’m sure the Class A vs B vs C discussion is played out often both here and other RV forums, but perhaps some of you that have more experience could help guide us towards a more realistic solution.

I definitely want something used. I’m highly mechanical and would be able to fix anything on the truck, and periodic maintenance will be a non issue. I do want something that is average to higher in quality as well as being somewhat desirable when it comes time to sell and move on to another.
Regarding size, I really like the Sprinter/MB based Class C’s. I like the “simple” and small size of the vehicle and the fuel efficiency is certainly appealing. We plan to take longer road trips to destinations, with less multi-day stops between – so I guess it would almost be like a really nice SUV. We don’t plan on pulling a car, maybe a scooter. We also, other than clothes and some bikes, tend to travel light.

I also think I’d prefer a diesel over gas. We live in the mountains of Colorado, and driving a diesel pickup, I love the performance of them – hate the emission complexity though. I’m worried about poor performance from a gas motor, although I’ve read some positive threads from owners of V10 powered MH’s, so perhaps it’s something we need to consider.

We definitely want a MH with :
1. -Dedicated bed large enough for my wife and I as well as sofa/dinette/bunk for the other two kids.
2. -Bathroom with separate shower & toilet.
3. -Able to access MH with slides in.

With that said, and a budget between say $50,000-$75,000 – where would everyone suggest we begin looking? Sorry for the long post, but figured it would be easier to those that can help!

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Old 07-10-2014, 07:02 PM   #2
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I don't know that a class B with 2 kids and a dog would be my thing, but if the smaller space works for you there is nothing wrong with them. You can also get either gas or diesel in Class B.

Class C generally will offer you the most sleeping flexibility, but many Class A's are very accommodating. Class C can also have either gas or diesel, however you may have a difficult time finding a diesel within your budget parameters. If you are not towing anything, a Class C with a gas should perform very satisfactory for you.

Class A will provide the most room and without towing a gas should be more than sufficient for your parameters. I caution you about not towing anything, with small children I would think you would want the flexibility of transportation without unhooking the RV each time. You can rent a car in most locations however.

With the budget you have, you should be able to find something to suit your needs very well. I would highly recommend making a list of your wants/needs, then prioritize the best you can. I would also go to a couple of lots and look at a variety of all Classes and assist you in making your list.

Try and narrow down what is available in your budget, decide on the class, floor plan etc. Once you have that the internet is a great tool for your search.

I would also read up on this forum, it is the best I have seen for good advice. RVing is a compromise, so do your homework to minimize your compromises.

I started with a pop-up, I have rented Class C, owned travel trailer, traveled in 5th wheel, and have owned 2 class A's over the past 14 years. I didn't lose much money on the pop up or travel trailer, but I have never regretted going to a class A. My 2 children were 11 and 8, and to this day they love traveling in the Motorhome with us with our dog.

Good luck and absorb all of the great knowledge on this site and sort through the you must do what I do and people that will share good and bad about their experiences. No one way is the best, it is about what suits you and your family the best.

Johnny Rotten
2009 American Eagle 42'
Trailering HD Road Glide and Saab 9.3 or Cadillac Escalade ESV
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
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A German Shepherd is a large dog and will take up a lot of space in the MH. If you have slide-outs make sure every thing is accessible in the MH with the slides in. A German Shepherd may not be wanted in many RV parks. You may want to look into this before you get too far along. Check the pet forum below.

Fran, Mary & Zoey (silver Cocker)
2006 Itasca Sunrise 35A, 2005 W-22, Allison 1000 5 speed
'13 Ford Focus ST or '10 Prius on Master Tow Dolly 80THD-SB or '00 Jeep Cherokee 4-down
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:41 AM   #4
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We just went through this excersize last year (bought our MH in April of '13). We have two kids 4 and 3. After perusing and researching all makes and models of motorized RV's we ended up purchasing a new SportsCoach CrossCountry 385ds. It has the bunk beds and plenty of space.

If I were to do it again, I would look for a good, clean used model with the same amenities.

Make a list of what you need, want, and would be nice to have. Develop a realistic budget and add 20%. Then you can narrow down what rigs are available to you.

2013 Coachmen SportsCoach 385DS
2010 HD CVO StreetGlide
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:47 AM   #5
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Couple of interesting options...

#9346 - 2013 Coachmen Mirada Bunk Model W/2 Slides & 5 TVs for sale in Alvarado TX

#9391 - 2008 Thor Motor Coach Challenger 376 Bunk Beds W/2 Slides for sale in Alvarado TX
2013 Coachmen SportsCoach 385DS
2010 HD CVO StreetGlide
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:58 AM   #6
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Here are two examples that might suit you. One a class A from a very high quality builder, and the other is a entry level class C

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Old 07-20-2014, 06:46 PM   #7
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Sorry if I’m a little late to the party but when I saw your handle I figured I had to reply. You see, I bought my MH primarily for towing my stock car and spending long days at the track.

Now, for my “personal opinion”. I read an interesting RV survey a few years ago that basically said, there are a plethora of different types of RV’s and everybody has an opinion, but statistically less people leave a Class A than any other type of RV. The reason stated is simple, Class A’s pretty much surpass everything else (I said my “personal” opinion!).

After owning a gas MH years ago I pretty much swore off MH’s altogether. That was back in ’79 and DP’s have changed the picture. Moving a lot of weight reliably is the strong suit of a diesel and they do it rather well.

And, having the motor way back there makes the cockpit quiet and much nicer.

If you’re a “racer” you surely appreciate the difference good equipment makes. I started my search with a list of “must haves” and another list of “must not have’s”. I began with the chassis engine combo. While I don’t think there are any “bad” DP’s, some are better than others.

For me, the Cummins engine was a must have. I don’t want to start a Holy war, but not many will say anything bad about a Cummins. In the 40’ category the ISL (400 HP) is pretty good.

I wound up with a Spartan chassis and so far I couldn’t be happier. Mechanics all tell me it’s a little better than most. I do wish it had disk brakes, but finding “perfect” ain’t gonna happen.

As for the rest, well it’s really not that hard. Personally, I’d rather have a used quality piece than a brand new cheapie. If certain brands command more at resale – there’s a reason. Do your homework and find out why. By all the books and conventional advice I overpaid for my MH. I’ve never regretted it for a minute. I do most of my own maintenance and when I see what I’m working with, I smile.

But, understand that RV’s are complex vehicles and the importance of buying one in good shape, with maintenance records can’t be overstated. After lengthy phone conversations I still wound up taking two plane rides that turned out to be “roundtrip” before I actually bought. Advice here, don’t get too excited before you see it in person. There’s a lot of junk out there. Don’t let that dissuade you, when you find that pearl it’s all worth it.

Rather than use conventional wisdom and seek the “most” RV for your money, I’d suggest the opposite. For me, discounted stuff is usually more expensive than I can afford. Once again, give me the quality piece.

Lastly, before you buy anything take it to a dealer and pay to have it checked out. The money I spent on inspections saved me once and possibly twice. Don’t ask the seller to pay for it or recommend a dealer. Make a small investment in researching “who” and pay for it yourself.

Good luck and let us know whatcha get!
Gary M
Homer Glen, IL
2004 Travel Supreme 40DS03
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:10 PM   #8
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My kids (read young ones) loved class C's with the cab over bed. It gave them their place and a place for their toys.

I've driven smaller class C's all over the west and into Alaska and have not had a problem with the power. I prefer the chevy 8.1 because of the larger displacement cylinders which result in a lower revving ( read quieter ) motor. However it really depends upon what you are going to do with the unit. Class C suffers from lack of outside storage and tankage but are much cheaper to buy and maintain.

As my kids got older (teens) we moved to class A because we started towing toys and needing the tankage and storage much more. Whatever you do don't buy into the hype that there is one perfect motorhome. Your needs will change as your family grows, so I suggest to keep it simple and cheap.
Steven and Stephanie
2007 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2008 Hyundai Elantra
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:00 PM   #9
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Just be careful. I have been RVing and camping since the early 60s. I figured I knew just about everything about RVs. I had sold my RV, a 5ver in 2003, and in 2012 jumping back in the RV market. Being hesitant first jumped into a small TT to see what problems I would encounter. In 2013 jumped into a MH. Markets change quickly. Things in RVs cheapen quickly. So Many things to be careful about. Quality of the manufacturer and even then you have to be careful. Getting on the forums and reading will help you a lot. I could write a book on how they sell RVs cheaper. The chassis is the easiest. The box, cupboards, cupboard floors. A lot of things you will overlook until you are the owner. In my 2013 Monaco Monarch MH looked beautiful on the lot. I still like it but the cupboard floors are 1/8 plywood. Unable to hold a gallon bottle of water. Now replaced. They do this for weight and profits. Just look, look, look. Think about what you will be storing and how everything is built. '

Just hope this doesn't get deleted because this web site is supported by RV advertisement and I have been warned before about being critical of RVs.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:48 PM   #10
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If you decide on gas just make sure the engine is big enough. I found a lot of the class C's had small engines, like a Chevy 350. I had a 350 in a van and it barely got out of it's own way. I have a 28' class A with a 454 and it climbs the mountains with no problem. Diesel are great but you get a lot more for your money with a gas engine. Once you figure this out find a floor plan that suits you and have fun.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:10 PM   #11
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This is coming from someone who spent two years researching, test driving, and looking on this website before buying. We went for the Class A for several reasons, and went with the gas engine. Today's Ford V-10 has plenty of power and is easy to maintain. With the price range you are talking about you can easily afford a newer used Class A, some of them even have a pull down bunk over the driver's area which is nice because it adds additional sleeping area. If you do go with the Class C be very careful what the CCC is, alot of them are pretty much maxed out with two people and water. I would not recommend the smaller Class B as they seem to be very cramped as compared to the Class A or C.

My advice is to buy something a little bigger than you envisioned, you will enjoy the camping experience more and will not feel like you need upgrade right away because you don't have enough room to enjoy yourself.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:46 PM   #12
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Hi motoracer51,
This is easier than you think. Consider the following items listed in order of importance.
1. floor plan Check the coach in travel, sleep and entertaining mode.
2. Will the coach carry all your stuff and people. GVWR-UWR. (or CCC rating)
3. Will the coach tow what you want to tow. GCWR-GVWR. Also check the hitch weight rating.

After the coach passes the above mentioned tests, one can make the decision as complicated as one wants to make it. Good luck in your search.
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910 + GMC ENVOY XUV 37K lbs Moving Down The Road
The Avatar Is Many Times Around The USA
Nobody Knows Your Coach Like Somebody Who Owns One Just Like Yours
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:04 PM   #13
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check out the Winnebago 35J Sightseer, bunk model...we love our '08 and I'm getting ready to post some before and after pics of our renovation inside! Research wheel base ratio also when looking, you want to make sure you have a smooth drive!

For sure look at used...we got ours with low mileage & love it!!
David, Michelle, Laura & our golden therapist "Bear"
2008 Winnebago Sightseer 35J 2005 Jeep Liberty toad
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:58 PM   #14
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Family of 4+ looking to buy 1st MH – Looking for advice & direction

From experience, pass on options that do not include bunk beds for the little ones. The thought of having to make the dinette or couch every night not only killed livability but in our case created a unusable area until the couch or dinette was broken down.

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