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Old 04-12-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
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New buyer, class c bunkhouse

I've been pouring through the information here and would like to just lead this off by saying that this seems like a really friendly bunch with a lot of knowledge to share. I'm in the market for a class C with bunks and have narrowed it down to: the Thor chateu 31a, thor fourwinds 31a, coachmen leprechaun 32bh, forest river forester 3171ds, the Jayco redhawk 31xl, and the minnie winnie bunkhouse (may be out of price range). I'll be pretty much weekend camping with the family and probably 2 long trips a year. I'd like to be able to tow a 2009 vw jetta on a dolly, and really just look forward to getting my family out there camping. Any suggestions with the models listed? I know they all ride on the same base and personal preference will dictate, but if you were considering these models and had around 60-75k price range, what would you do?
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:47 PM   #2
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A word of caution on larger class C and bunk houses. A larger class C will typically not have much cargo carrying capacity and may well be over the chassis GVWR once loaded.

Since you are looking at a bunk house model, I presume you have kids. Adding the kids and all of their cargo will contribute to the loading.

Before you decide on one of the RVs, have the dealer get an actual weight before you decide...see a real weight ticket.

We had a 31' Minnie Winnie DL (1999) that when we were loaded for a week or two trip, full fuel, 1/4 tank fresh water, empty waste tanks, we weighed 13,950#, only 100# below the chassis GVWR of 14,050#. If the RV had slides, or added passengers, we would have been over weight.

I think you would do better looking fro a 32 to 34' class A Bunk house unit. It will normally have a higher cargo capacity than a C.

Ken
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:26 PM   #3
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I'm not sure but I think there are weight limits on each axle as well so you may be just under the overall limit but way over on one axle and under on the other. So weight distribution is a concern. Having said that, I am looking at bunkhouse C's as well.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
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Consider Fleetwood Jamboree 31n? The Jayco is good choice. They all have 14500 capacity.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:33 PM   #5
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You can't go wrong with any of those you are considering. Look closely at the floor plan differences and which will suit you and your needs best. Look at kitchen storage, food storage, clothes storage and then kitchen lay out... Counter space for food prep...

Look at outside storage... How much is in front of rear axle? Most big storage is behind rear axle which greatly reduces the weight you can or should put in these large places. How much fresh water will you be able to carry? If you plan to desert camp or stay at primitive locations you will need more with a family than is usually available in most C's.....

The class C is a great choice for a family and the ones you are looking at are awesome... Good luck with you search...
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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Recently went through the same buying process and noticed one thing that may get missed. Winnebago, Jayco, Coachman and Forest River all lengthen the frame in two locations on their bunk houses. They lengthen the middle and add shorter frame extensions on the back. Coachman and Forest River (same company btw) goes the extra mile to add additional reinforcement for the rear spring and extends their plates well into the original frame to ensure a solid weld. This should make the frame stronger than OEM. Coachman went the extra mile and got Ford to certify the modifications as well. The added length in the middle of the frame allows these manufacturers to add storage between the axles and provides a better handling rig by placing more weight on the front axle. The drawback is that turning radius suffers (You'll need more room to turn than a 34 ft A). I do not know if Thor does this. Perhaps an owner of a Thor could speak to that. Having air springs standard in the rear will also help on the road handling. I believe all of the units you listed above have those except for the Thors. FYI we opted for a Forest River unit b/c it came with all of the chassis upgrades, added 3M bug shield, had additional sound insulation, a one piece fiberglass front, heated and enclosed water tanks, backup and side view cameras and a fiberglass roof for close to the same $$$ as the Thor units.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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You can get all that and a spare tire on Fleetwood Jamboree.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:41 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the feedback. As I'm sure it's pretty common, I'm left confused and bewildered. Haha, now I'm really liking the fleetwood storm 32bh class A. Really liking the "bed and beakfast" layout instead of just bunks. Functional use of space IMO.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad10th View Post
Thanks for all of the feedback. As I'm sure it's pretty common, I'm left confused and bewildered. Haha, now I'm really liking the fleetwood storm 32bh class A. Really liking the "bed and beakfast" layout instead of just bunks. Functional use of space IMO.
I have a Class C Bunkhouse (FR Sunseeker 3170) and would gladly trade for a class A, and some day I will. The increased GVWR is one of my major reasons. With a full load for a family of four we are often over the GVWR. I constantly have to adjust what extras we take beyond the Must haves. Some of the Nice to have items are left behind which can make a trip a little less enjoyable. Especially when some of the Nice to have items are the kids items.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:30 PM   #10
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I have an Itasca Impulse Silver 31JP which is pretty much the same as the Winnebago (2011 Itasca Impulse Silver 31JP - iRV2.com RV Photo Gallery). The GVCW is about 22,000 pounds while the GVWR, like others have noted, is 14,500. If you are towing 4 down or using a trailer, you can move some of the weight to the rear vehicle to help reduce/manage to total weight on the axles. I have a family of four and we have always had plenty of space for things and not overloaded the chassis.

On the bunk layout, the kids love it and with the slides, there is plenty of space for the kids to play and hang out. We opted for the overhead cab bunk and use it as a play area for the kids. They can have their toys piled up there and spread out which is easily remedied by pulling the curtain to close it off when we have guests. I think you will really enjoy any one of those models you listed.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:11 AM   #11
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I should also mention that my C is a 3011 DSF Forester and is actually 200 lbs heavier empty than a bunkhouse. The bunk is lighter because the slides are smaller . Oh and the Forester comes with a spare as well. If I had the $$$ though an Itasca / Winnie 31 JP or 31 WP would have been my choice. Better cabinets, a quieter ride going down the road, and I like the IR sensors in place of floats on the waste tanks. Hey, Maybe HeavyH20 has a bunkhouse he might be interested in selling ;-)
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:40 PM   #12
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I am picking up the Palazzo next week and trading in the Itasca. So, it will be at Lazy Days in Tampa, soon, so it is definitely for sale but not by me
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:58 PM   #13
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I'm still liking ours after 2 years. We have 2400 lbs CCC after full tank of gas and LP. Just had the rig weighed and came in at 12700 with full tank of gas, 2/3-ish LP, empty passengers, empty water tanks. Leaves me about 1600 lbs left for "stuff" oh minus 200-240-ish for Bigfoot levelers added a couple of weeks ago. I think I would move "up" to a Super C before I moved to a Class A, but that's just me.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:52 PM   #14
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We just purchased the FR 3170 and love it for our family. We love that if the weather is not great, the kids have their space to relax in the bunk/couch area with their own tv. And the living room kitchen others can hang out. Our teenager has her own large space above the cab, and the parents can still have our room. Don't get me wrong, we love doing stuff together, but their are moments this arrangement can have an advantage.

We just returned from a trip from Iowa to DC with 4 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs and it was awesome. Traveling in our class c was the best!
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