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Old 09-25-2014, 12:41 PM   #1
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Does Length Matter?

So DH wants under 40' I want 40'. I say that if we are going to do this and it's going to be something that we build just for us (be that from a new or a used) that it should be something we can use for a long, long time. I also like what I've read about TAG and being that we are both new to driving RV's believe it would be a great benefit to us and our comfort when driving it.

DH says that a 36' will be easier to handle and that since we've never had experience otherwise we won't know what we are missing by not having the TAG axle. He also says that the jump in weight is a big deal.

I need some honest thoughts on this. Is another 4' really THAT big of a difference??

Thanks!
Angie
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:50 PM   #2
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Over the years we've gone from a 17' Type B to a 26' Type C, then a 35' Type A, a 39' Type A and now a 41' Type A and before that it was a series of TT's.
The biggest change was going from the 35' Type A to the 39' Type A as it was a DP.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:17 PM   #3
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Are you looking at diesels only, or are you considering gas also? With a 36 foot gas you will be ok with your current license. If you go to a 40 foot diesel you are probably going to need a class b drivers license depending on the total weight and where you live.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:17 PM   #4
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Angie, It depends on how many times you want to upgrade to a larger coach. The longer coach with a longer wheel base will give a more comfortable, stable ride. The longer length will give you more living space and storage space. You will be happier with a longer length. I have gone from a 32' MH to a 43' one with one in between. I would be far ahead financially had I gone longer sooner. I'm sure our Dane would have also
appreciated it as well.

Longer is no harder to drive than shorter and so much more comfortable.

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Old 09-25-2014, 01:21 PM   #5
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As Tanstaff says the licensing requirement depends on where you live.

Where are you located?

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Old 09-25-2014, 01:30 PM   #6
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I agree with the post regarding DRIVER LICENSE, check your state DMV for the requirements for your license. Most states do not require a special license.
Length is a personal question for you to decide. We have traveled in our 36ft Discovery for the past eight years and have been very comfortable. We have found that we have been able to get into most state and national parks which have older site designs. A longer coach might have been iffy. Would like more than one slide that we have. Three would suite us ok.
Find a coach that both of you like. That is the most important.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:31 PM   #7
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Thanks.

DP for sure

I've read all about MD and their non-commercial class b license need, which while I understand and will abide by am finding it very hard to figure out how to put the cart and horse together so to speak. I asked on the general forum and got an array of answers

Just having nothing to base it on I think the 'idea' of 40' is something that DH is having a hard time with. He was the same way when we were looking at fifth wheels, commenting how it would be 20' of truck and 30' of fifth wheel...

Me, well does it scare the crap out of me, why yes, yet it does, but I'm a brave little lass and I'm more than willing to give it a go! I've seen ladies older than myself wheeling around school buses so if they can, why can't I!
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:34 PM   #8
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Oh and the other reason for 40' currently we have just one Dane, Cooper, but he may be getting a little sister here soon
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
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My answer for length is Floor Plan, Floor Plan, Floor Plan.

No matter what length you get it will go down the road. Newer MH with 60 degree steering will turn as well or better than many of the older shorter units. Length may be an issue in some campgrounds but IMO if you can get a 36 in a 43 can with a bit more work.

Driving a MH of any sort will take some thought and practice. It is not like a car so you have to think ahead a bit more. It is like the first time you drove a car. There was all kinds of buttons, peddles and levers in front of you, there was a hood out front and the second you stepped on the gas things happened very rapidly. As you practised more things seemed to slow up and become less intimidating.

It will be similar with a coach. It will line up differently because you are sitting in front of the wheels. Takes a little getting used to but many people have done it in the past and many more will do it in the future, the two of you included.

If possible take a training course. There are a number available around the country. It that is not practical consider a truck training school. Watch videos. CW has a series that seem to be very practical and well produced.

Start out driving carefully. Go to a local shopping mall where there is space and practice turning and backing up. Take some plastic pails or cones to see you fast the coach will turn or when to stop backing up, go ahead and realign for the tighter parking space.

Floor plan is the most important factor. If you spend time in your MH is is inevitable that you will spend time in inclement weather. Pretend you are cooped up for 3 or 4 days and imagine how you will deal with the confinement. Can you watch your favorite program on one TV while your spouse watches their favorite on another? Will the sound interfere with each other? Can you lay out some hobby for a day or two and still get around? Is their enough counter space to prepare meals etc? Do you want a washer/dryer or a combo? What about washrooms, we absolutely love the bath and a half. We also went all electric.

Most of the folks who trade up found they did not have the right space for them to live in. In very few instances did they trade because of a mechanical issues. Very few traded down.

Find something you like in your price range and buy the highest model you can. Generally the higher end models have better materials. Workmanship is usually done by the same workers who build multiple models on their line.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:16 PM   #10
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I had travel trailers and then went to a 32' fifth wheel the last four years I worked before retirement. This was great since we could still get it into most state and national parks. However once we retired and headed south for four or five months the 32' fifth wheel became too small so we upgraded to a 43' Ventana. I had never driven a motorhome so I can't do any comparisons between the difficulty between a 36' motorhome and our 43' but I can say if you take it easy at first I am sure you will do fine. I had a couple hundred yards of practice before being in six lanes of traffic and it went fine other than having to replace the driver seat cushion due to the hole I put in it due to the pucker factor.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:34 PM   #11
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Get your self a Canyon Star...... its only 39' and some inches but under 40'. I park in all the same places as my 35' motorhome. My son uses the coach a few times a year also, he found that there was No big difference driving.

You need No special license to drive it either.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:38 PM   #12
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No, But Girth is Important

Quote:
Originally Posted by logsend View Post
So DH wants under 40' I want 40'.

Thanks!
Angie
We started with a 40' that worked fine for us and our two MUCH smalled furry kids; the DW embarked on replacing it with a 45' equipped with tag.

Frankly, I don't sense too much interior space difference or handling improvement. We've enjoyed a pretty big increase in basement space; but, that's largely due to pass-thru storage rather than length.

Here's the kicker. While Momma would happily take to the road alone in the 40' rig towing a car, it is beyond her skill-set in the 45 footer.

Length is the lesser part of it, the bottom clearance and tag management issues confuse her more than anything else. And -- you can laugh if you'd like -- the bigger coach "seems" wider.

About this last part: they are all the same width, side and top clearance varies little from that 36' rig you mentioned and the biggest 45' you can find. But, her concern isn't without merit: a more ponderous feel, higher weight, the belly-dragging issues and having extra wheels chasing you down the highway all add up to feeling larger, wider.

If you quantify driving skills, let's say you need at least an 87 to drive a 36 footer diesel pusher. Well, I'm here to tell you that the difference between that and the tag-equipped 45' is only two or three more points. They all take good sense, patience, practice.

So, like the guy before me said, look at floorplan and make enough space for two horse-dogs; only after that, the length is coincidental.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:41 PM   #13
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Hi logsend,
Go for the largest coach you can afford. Bigger is better. Choosing a coach is simpler than most folks think. Consider, in order of importance, the show stoppers are:
1. floor plan
2. Will the coach carry all the people and all your stuff? GVWR-UVWR=NCC (does not include propane and fresh water weight you must add this to the weight of your stuff)
3. Will the coach tow what you want to tow? GCWR-GVWR=Maximum towing weight. Also check the coach receiver/hitch weight rating.

After these items are met, one can make the decision as complicated as one want to make it.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:53 PM   #14
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There's something also to consider. When comparing a 40ft and shorter against a 42ft plus, your fresh, black, grey and fuel tanks can be bigger also. Usually another AC unit with a few heat pumps which gets a bigger generater. It's not just a few more feet in length when you start really comparing.
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