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Old 08-01-2020, 02:11 PM   #1
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Red face Considering Buying a Winnebago Class A

I am new to this forum. (I'm a senior member of the TT forum.) We have had travel trailers and now a fith wheel for 16 years. I know nothing about Class A's.

We are considering buying a used 2010 Winnebago Sightseer 33 ft w. three slides with only 11K miles. We travel with four dogs so we would appreciate the extra room for traveling. (They fit into my 3500 Megacab pickup but not by much.)

Can anyone help me with some questions as I consider this purchase.

First, my 5-er has three slides, loots of room and it's paid for. Is this a step up?

If so, what are the top three systems I need to make sure are working and in good shape for this vehicle (meaning that you don't want a big repair on that...)?

I have been driving a dually with a 33 foot fifth wheel. Will it be a big challenge to drive a 33 ft Sightseer with a Toad? Will the ride be any smoother?

Here's a dumb quesntion ... Where/how do class A's carry their propane? I never see any 30 lb bottles like the 5-ers have.

I haven't seen much on three season camping with a class A. I know the walls on my Rockwood Signature are pretty thin. Are class A's any better for three season camping.

Are the basement heat pump systems in a class A the exception rather than the typical two roof A/C's and a propane furnace?

Better stop there...

Any help appreciated.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:18 PM   #2
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The biggest adjustment to driving a class A will be where you are sitting relative to the steering axle. There are some great tutorials on YouTube on establishing reference points, along with backing strategies etc.

The propane is in a 100# cylinder behind one of the baggage doors. You have to drive your coach to the fill point.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:24 PM   #3
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See about suspension work that was done. Hopefully there is some. We’re in a 2010 Winnebago 32K (same length). It will likely need suspension upgrades to make it drive it more comfortably. (Assume this is on a Ford V10 chassis (ours is a 2008 chassis). You can look in the Ford chassis forum for more info about that.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:38 PM   #4
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Don't expect a class A gas motor home to ride any better than your truck with a fifth wheel trailer. For a better ride, go for a diesel pusher with the better suspension.

Most class A rigs have a fixed (non removable) propane tank.

Is the Sightseer a step up? Only you can be the judge of that by carefully comparing your fifth wheel to a Sightseer.

We moved up to our Bay Star after having a 28' Sunline trailer followed by a 20014 Winnebago Minnie. Both trailers were very good, but the Bay Star is a step up in terms of having better insulation and dual pane windows. Also, the ducted heat/AC system is much quieter (Sunline was better than Minnie). Having a generator in the Bay Star is a step up....but you can have that with a fifth wheel.

There are pluses and minuses to both types of rigs. The motor home is great because when you pull over or into a rest area, you can get up and use the bathroom, have a meal, get a drink, etc. without even having to open the door! In terms of hitching up, I still have to take time to connect the car I tow....not hard, but it takes 10-15 minutes. When sight seeing, it's nice to have a smaller vehicle for parking, especially in cities and crowded popular attractions.

When looking at motor homes by Winnebago/Itasca, it helps to know what models were available in that production year as Winnebago, especially in more recent years, have a varied range of motor homes from less to more expensive. But, they are generally rated very well.

The basement ac unit, from what I've read, worked well. But, I've also read where people felt they created more noise in the bedroom as the AC unit was often below the bedroom. Do a little research and you will see quite a few discussions about the system. Although my rig is only a tad over 33', I like having two AC units, and in hot temps with a lot of sun, you need two units.

In my opinion, gas motor homes by Newmar and Tiffin tend to be a bit better, but the better Winnebago/Itasca units are very good and much better than a lot of the other brands available.

Top systems to check: 1. auto leveling system 2. AC unit(s) 3. LP/Electric fridge I'm just answering in terms of the "house", not the chassis where we would be talking about the power train, transmission, brake system, etc.

Challenge of driving: I pulled our 28' Sunline with a Dodge dually (V10 gas). I didn't find a big change moving up to our Bay Star with the Malibu in tow. The coach is a little wider which you notice in some construction work zones. As far as turning, you still have to make slightly wider right turns. With some modifications, the rig handles pretty well, but in some conditions, requires more driver attention than my two trailer rigs.

I suggest spending a lot of time and research on the advantages and disadvantages of a motor home vs. truck with fifth wheel. If budget is not an issue, go with a diesel pusher. If it is an issue....make sure you know what factors are most important to you and don't consider a motor home a "step up". I just don't think that it is that simple.

Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:50 PM   #5
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I am so grateful for all these answers.

Elwood58, thanks for the proane info. I did not know that. I assume that most generators run off propane if the unit is not a diesel.

ThomB, are the suspension upgrades small things like better shocks or more substantial upgrades to springs or axles or ??? I also wondered if you have the two roof A/C units in your 2010 Winnebago and if they do a good job when parked in full sun on a 90 degree day? I have one 15kBTU ducted A/C in our 33 foot Rockwood fifth wheel and it struggles in full sun on a hot day. I should have looked for one with 50 amp service and two A/C's. Hindsight is 20/20.

SCBWR, thank you for your patience in making such a detailed answer. I guess one of my questions is being able to maneuver within rural campgrounds. I visted a state park near Sturgeon Bay WI last year in our fifth wheel and it was hard to find a site I could maneuver well enough to back into. Some turns were really tight, and I wondered if a 33 ft.class A with that long wheelbase would be just as hard to maneuver.

I will likely tow with a tow dolly and not try to flat tow. (Automatic FWD toad) One thing I have to find out about this Winnebago is the tow hitch ratrings. I know many are for a 500# tongue and maybe 7 or 8 K of towed vehicle. Seems like the diesel pushers tow more weight.

Funny you should mention that you had a Sunline trailer, as their factoy was just a few miles from our house here in Lancaster County, PA. I was sorry to see them go out of business.

Love to hear anything about three season camping in a class A versus my fifth wheel.

I am reading everything I can on Class A's. Thanks for all your input!
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grapehound View Post
ThomB, are the suspension upgrades small things like better shocks or more substantial upgrades to springs or axles or ??? I also wondered if you have the two roof A/C units in your 2010 Winnebago and if they do a good job when parked in full sun on a 90 degree day? I have one 15kBTU ducted A/C in our 33 foot Rockwood fifth wheel and it struggles in full sun on a hot day. I should have looked for one with 50 amp service and two A/C's. Hindsight is 20/20.
We do have a 50A RV with 2 external units. Both were heat pump units but we had an issue with the rear unit and replace with an A/C only unit. It will cool the RV down on a 90 degree day but it’s cool is relative as we generally sit at 75-76 degrees during the day and 73 at night. Our RV is also ducted (Vista 32K).

As for the upgrades we have done:
Rear Track Bar
Sumo Springs (helper springs)
Koni FSD Shocks
Steering Stabilizer.
We originally did the Cheap Handling Fix (CHF) but it was backed out during the last service (added the Koni’s, alignment). We also replaced the stock sway bar bushings as the original rubber ones were melted. (That’s only about $40)
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:01 PM   #7
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Thanks ThomB! Do you have a Winnebago dealer do this suspension work or can any RV dealer get parts and work on a Winnebago class A?

I will ask the seller if he has done anything to the stock suspension.
Larry
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:38 AM   #8
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Re backing into campsites: The advantage goes to our motorhome. It's easier to back in as it's shorter than when we had a truck hooked up to a trailer. There's also no pivoting, so it's just like backing up a very large truck. And, as long as the site is long enough for the rig and clearance for slideouts, I don't need that much room for parking the Malibu.

Re three season camping: Motorhome wins by far, but neither of our trailers were designed for cold weather i.e. not heated tanks or extra insulation. The insulation of our Bay Star has made it very easy for us to stay in it when outside temps were in the teens. We've really only done this when making our January trek to Florida from our home in the greater Cleveland OH area. Propane furnace is more than adequate and also keeps the water bay above freezing, but I did install two small electric heaters that can be used if necessary, along with remote temp sensors so I can monitor the temps from the cozy interior! The heat pumps on the AC units are also very good until the temps get below 37 degrees or so.

Typically, gas motorhomes have hitches rated for 5K, but you do need to check the unit as it could possibly have a higher rating.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:17 AM   #9
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You'll love the 33C. I speak from experience as I have a 2011 model.

- The propane compartment is on the driver's side in an unlockable baggage compartment door. It's a bit on the small side, so you might want to invest in a Stay-A-While device to allow use of a 20lb barbecue model tank to supplement in an emergency.

- Before buying make sure the HWH levelers are in good working order. My rear ones had to be replaced after only 1 year of use.

- We replaced the couch/sofa bed with two lazyboy recliners. The couch was just not comfortable for sitting for long periods and the blow up mattress was not comfortable for sleeping either.

- I had some fridge problems, but solved them with outside and inside fans and a new thermistor.

- Check the age of the tires.

- We swapped out both TVs in the coach with larger TCL Roku smart one.

Long and short of our experience after almost 10 years of ownership. We absolutely love the 2011 Sightseer 33C.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:47 AM   #10
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Larry-

Welcome to iRV2!

The 2010 Adventurer looks to be a very nicely appointed coach. Please confirm for us that you are considering the 32H model (which was 32 feet 10 inches long).

Interesting tidbits from the 2010 Adventurer brochure (link here):

1) The 32H model could have been built on a Ford chassis, a Workhorse chassis, or a Freightliner FRED (FRont Engine Diesel) chassis. All are rated at 22,000 pounds GVWR and 26,000 pounds GCWR, with 22.5-inch wheels.

2) The hitch rating is 5,000 pounds horizontal and 500 pounds vertical.

If the coach is loaded to its maximum, such that GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) equals GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), then your tow dolly and toad together must weigh 4,000 pounds (26,000 - 22,000) or less to stay within the ratings. If the coach, when fully loaded, weighs 21,000 pounds or less, then your tow dolly and toad together must weigh 5,000 pounds or less to stay within the hitch rating.

3) Wheelbase is 220 inches.

While a longer wheelbase make for wider turns, it also (usually) means better tracking on the road.

4) Standard electrical cord is 30A, with an option for 50A

I had assumed that the "residential" A/C system required a 50A coach. I guess not.

5) Standard generator for the 32H is 5500W gasoline for the Ford and Workhorse, and 5500W propane for the FRED. In the larger models, a 6000W diesel generator was an option for the FRED.

Interesting tidbit from the operator manual for the 2010 Adventurer (link here):

1) Slides are electric or hydraulic, depending on model. Electric slides are not Schwintek, a system that could have its problems. (This is an important point; please confirm for yourself on the actual coach.)

By the way, the wiring diagrams for the 32H are here.

Here are some other points:

1) Many coaches of this era- not just Winnebagos- have paint problems because the clearcoat that "protects" the paint has broken down. You can find evidence of this on the top of the front and rear caps, where they meet the roof. Sometimes it appears on the roof-side edges, or more generally on the sides of the coach.

2) Winnebagos of many years and models can develop leaks around the tops of the windshield. It's a design problem.

3) Winnebagos have a unique roof-wall joint. You should inspect that joint and reseal as needed. See the video at .
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Grapehound View Post
Thanks ThomB! Do you have a Winnebago dealer do this suspension work or can any RV dealer get parts and work on a Winnebago class A?

I will ask the seller if he has done anything to the stock suspension.
Larry
The sway bar bushings, rear track bar, and Sumo Springs my brother and I installed in his driveway. We could probably have done the front steering stabilizer but when that and the shocks were installed we had it into a shop to do an alignment and had them do that. I really never considered going to a dealer for any of it. I’d look for an independent shop who can do the work right and wants to get you in and out not have you in line with 40-50 other rigs. (We were fulltiming at the time so we didn’t want to be without the rv for too long)
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:55 AM   #12
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I transistioned from a 10' popup to a class A so don't have any "real" trailer experience.

My initial impression of my class A is that it's a crappy house built on a UPS truck. Mine was not a premium model when new by a long shot, but wasn't an economy model either. In reading up on this chassis and exploring the issues and solutions, my experience is not unique. There are all manner of aftermarket "upgrades" you can do from sway bars, to shocks to steering stabilizers. How effective those can be I don't know, and will probably never know as I'm not going to spend thousands to find out. Since I don't travel much in mine I'm OK with what it is but with this in mind, if traveling is one of the objectives by all means test ride and know that you're OK with whatever you're getting. Creaks and rattles are one thing, but roaring engine noise, vibrations, porpoising, swaying and wandering gets old on a long trip.

Slides are a great thing to have but are a bit of a mechanical marvel. Lots of posts about drive systems that fail necessitating expensive repairs. I find that this is one part of an RV I can find the least amount of information about so I'd be surfing the forums and seeing if your particular model has a history of slide issues. My other observation about slides is everything is wonderful when they're out, but is the RV usable when they're retracted? If the aisles are impassible or you can't open a closet door or walk around a bed unless a slide is open, I think that's a bit of a limitation. You're not going to be able to deploy all the slides for every stop.

It almost sounds like a cliche but the floorplan is everything. It can be the "best" class A but if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't matter how good it is. Inasmuch as I'm not crazy about the chassis on mine, the floorplan is perfect, storage plentiful. I don't have a toad (yet) so setting up with a class A (and a C) is as easy as driving into or backing into a spot, running the levelers, putting out the slide and pulling down the awning. Just a matter of minutes from travel to popping a cold one. So from a convenience point of view not having to juggle a trailer, unhitch and set up, a class A or C has the nod.

I don't get too wound up about cabinetry and appliances and such. I've remodeled my S&B homes over the years and the idea of replacing an appliance, putting in drawers or modifying the cabinetry doesn't intimidate me in the least. I wouldn't let those kinds of details make or break a motorhome choice for me. Likewise with entertainment systems or other electrical or electronic gadgetry. Those are things that are readily added and likely with something better than what's offered by the vendor.

Mark B.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:20 AM   #13
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Wow, really great information and perspective!

Thanks SCBWR for the info about three season camping! I think the walls of my Rockwood fiver are thinner than what's on a Class A and it has fewer systems to keep warm (though it does feature a fireplace heater which the dogs cozy up to). We'd like something a little more cold weather (three season) friendly.

Since our rig is now about 50 feet long with truck and trailer it makes sense that the Winnegago 33' would be easier to back into a tight site. I have noticed that the sldies don;t seem to go out more than about two feet on a Class A, while mine go out almost twice that on the fifth wheel.

Davismills thanks so much for your perspective! We will check the leveling system for sure. You know, when I fill my propane tanks on the fiver I carry them into the prompane station at Tractor Supply or a local hardware. How in the heck would I get the Class A close enough to fill the big tank? Where do class A owners fill their propane which would perhaps have a hose or something to reach the RV? A truck stop?

Yes, we don't sweat the small stuff like TV's or couches. They can be replaced. I am glad to hear you basically like the unit. I want to avoid replacing bg mechanical systems for $3k.

l1v3fr33ord1 we are actually looking at the Sightseer model from 2010. I don't have any paperwork on it yet so I am not sure of the model number, just that it's 33 feet with three slides. I don't know if the Adventurer is a step up or down from the Sightseer.

Great info on towing capacities and that sounds just what I expected. We would likely tow our 3,000# VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI as a toad, so towing weight limits should be OK.

My guess is that with two roof A/C's it will be a 50 amp unit but we shall see. It would be great (I think) if these were heat pump units too and not just A/C's.

Mark_K5LXP I agree that quality is wanting in most of these RV builds. My Rockwood is beautiful to look at but it's really a collection of cheap luan plywood materials overlain by fancy decorator fabrics That said, my fifth wheel has a skylight over the shower andCorian countertops, which I don't have in my $400,000 home!

We will be using the RV to travel so I may need to make some suspension upgrades, depending upon the options and costs to improve handling. My nightmare is going through a constrution area with a semi on one side, a concrete barrier on the other and a wiggle in the steering.

I am very critical of what floorplan we get. I look for the best features to be combined in one. Donlt like the rear bathrooms becasue then guests have to trapse through your bedroom to use the potty. Some 40 footers have a powder room amidships which is a nice feature. I also like opposing couches for more people to hang out at the charity gatherings we run. I would like to have four slides but three means you at least have opposing slides somewhere for more room. And yes a cabinet is going to be blocked here or there when the slides are "in." That's what we have now and we adjust.

Great feedback everyone! Thanks so much and keep it coming.

We will look at this Winnebago Sightseer on Tuesday and see what we think. Ideally, I like to buy my RV's new in December in Michigan when "ain't nobody buyin'," especially in the upper midwest. I get great deals because transport costs from Indiana are low and delaers want to close out the year on a positive.

So I am also toying with the idea of holding out for a diesel pusher this December when the market turns to buyers. Can't afford new so a nice condition used one with low miles will have to do. This Sightseer has 11k miles so you can't do much better on a ten year old Class A gasser.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:53 AM   #14
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Opposing slides provide a lot of room when set up in a CG. But one of the great advantages of a MH going down the road can be negated by opposing slides that limit mobility or seating when retracted. Make sure you see the coach with the slides pulled in and determine if it works for you. Good luck in your search.
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