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Old 09-04-2011, 10:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Redmond, WA
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Question 35ft vs. 39ft

Hello all,

I have been a frequent visitor to irv2.com to do a lot of research, but never have posted a question. I guess so far I have always found the answer somewhere. Now, this one, I couldn't find a discussion on, so it's either something nobody every asks, or there is no answer

We have identified two possible layouts for us. One is a 35ft and the other one is a 39ft RV. How much difference do the 4 addtional feet make in driving and parking?

Is it a noticable difference or not?

Will I have problems getting into State and National Parks?

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:28 PM   #2
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IMHO, it's the wheelbase and not the length of the motorhome that makes the difference. A longer wheelbase will usually be less noticeable in crosswinds, which I feel is a big safety advantage. I have graduated from a 208" to 228" to 267" wheelbase, and been happier and more secure with each increase in length. The length of the tail behind the rear axle is also an issue for stability(think tail wagging the dog) and maneuvering in campgrounds. Many gassers have a longer tail, and shorter wheelbase, than diesel pushers of a comparable coach length. DPs usually have a sharper steering cut than gassers. Both a 35' and a 39' are going to be a challenge in state and nat'l parks, as most have a limited number of sites available to accommodate the longer lengths. Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:10 PM   #3
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Rv's are like boats. Go from a 16' to a 24' and there is a big difference. Go for the floor plan and the slide outs. A 30' with 3 slides has more room than a 40' with 1 slide. As far as length, anything over a 35' will be a challenge in county parks so if that is what you are looking for then stay under 35'. Other than that go for it...
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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We have a 39ft Rv. We manly stay at state parks. Haven’t had any problems, other then trees scrapping down the sides of the RV. Most state park web sites tell you the max length of Rv’s allowed. Just do your homework, when planning a trip. The mane problem is finding a site to get level in. Bring blocks. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:17 AM   #5
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If the 39 footer has a longer wheelbase, you will notice the difference in cornering - it has a tendency to cut the corner more. On the other hand, if the two have the same wheelbase, then the 39 footer will have more rear overhang (behind the rear axle0 and the rear end swings out more in a turn. This can be a problem in narrow CG roads, fuel stations, etc where you make sharp turns and don't have room to the sides.

As for campsites, well, every foot of additional length reduces your choices somewhat. When we went from 36 ft to 40 ft, we began to look for larger spaces. After awhile we realized we were going to different parks than we used to. Some state and federal parks have shorter sites or narrow access roads, but so do some private campgrounds. It's not a question of public vs private.

But if you have not driven the 35 footer, you won't know the difference
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:26 AM   #6
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We moved from a 35 footer to a 40 footer in 2008. Besides the gasser to DP which was the big difference, we gained more storage and a much bigger bathroom. DW also got some additional counter space in the kitchen area.

Fitting in the state and national parks depends on the park and, like in previous posts, you need to do your homework ahead of time. One park in particular, Yosemite, has hundreds of sites for a 35 footer and only TWELVE sites for a 36 to 40 footer.

If your 39 foot option is a gasser, you will have more trouble navigating the tight gas stations. If it is a DP, you can go over to the roomy truck fuel islands.
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:01 PM   #7
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We stayed with less than 35 specifically for state and nat parks. So far we are completely pleased with both our internal space and ability to get into parks. That said, you do make sacrifices in space and floor plans, but access was a bigger priority for us. Our last travel trailer was 33 feet and hooked to our truck made many parks not possible. With our MH we do not tow a toad so we can stop just about anywhere.
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:31 PM   #8
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We went from a 35 to 40 back to a 36 due to the inability to find spaces in state and national parks. Also, consider the number and length of travel for the slides. You may fit in length but not width. Many campgrounds in eastern Sierra are long enough, however, slide opening distance sometimes is an issue. Good luck
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:22 PM   #9
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Thinking your ability to back up comfortably might have a lot to do with answering your question, rather than physical dimensions of a site? That's been our experience anyway. Our 34, which is closer to 35', has never had it's nose even close to the road after backing into a Mich. state or county site we've visited. We just made the jump to 38'. Agree with the earlier post that mentioned the bigger chore may be finding a site you can level your coach on.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:49 PM   #10
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The answer to your question is very different if for gas or diesel motor home. In general the longer the chassis compared to the house length the easier it is to drive the motor home in all conditions. Because of the way DPs are made most of them shorter than 36' do not have the desired ratio of chassis length to house length. Some on this forum will argue, but my experience is that 36+ is good for DPs. In general long gas motor homes will have too long a rear overhang. So shorter gas motor homes usually handle best in all conditions. Of course the way to go is to drive a whole bunch of them to see which you like the feel of best.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:13 AM   #11
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Thank you all for the answers. It's very helpful.

What we are specifically looking at are the Tiffin Allegro 35 QBA and the Tiffin Allegro RED 38 QBA. I believe I will go with the 38.

My dream motorhome is the Newmar Ventana 3942, but it seems to rare that I could easier order new. I don't really want to buy new, want to avoid the initial depreciation.

I really appreciate your input - great community.

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