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Old 11-22-2016, 06:01 PM   #1
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Class C vs Class A designation

Ok so my wife and I were in a debate today over class designations. Are Internationals and Chevy truck chasis RVs class A Or C?

They are as big as an A. The difference I see is the cab over. But many A's have sleepers over the driver. So what makes an A? And also why are van conversions a B? Seems to me vans should be a C and cab overs a B.
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:59 PM   #2
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Here is one take on the differences:
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:15 PM   #3
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So if I am reading right it really comes down to if it is a "cut away" or not that makes is an A or C.

The wiki really does not got into who made the classes and why a b is a b and a c is a c. Because to me and for many reasons a C should be a B and a B a C
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:43 PM   #4
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Class C vs Class A designation

Class A Motorhome

Class A motorhomes are built using a very strong, heavy-duty frame. These frames are built on either a commercial bus chassis, a commercial truck chassis, or a motor vehicle chassis. The 18-wheeler trucks use a similar build. The big, 22.5 inch wheels support the heavy load of the Class A motorhome. With 8-10 MPG, the Class A motorhome has the worst fuel economy. There are usually slide-outs. For quality and luxury, the Class A motorhome is the way to go. Plenty of storage space and a roomy interior are what defines the Class A motorhome. 2-4 people can sleep in the motorhome as there is a bedroom located in the back and couches that fold down into beds in the living room area. If luxury, plenty of space, and an interior that resembles home is your concern, then choose the Class A

Class B Motorhome

From the outside, the Class B motorhome looks very much like an oversized van. They are also commonly known as camper vans. Inside, the van is tall enough for standing room. Even though there is a kitchen, living room, and a bathroom, it is very small. The toilet and shower are combined into one space.

Most Class B motorhomes do not have slide outs. In terms of cost, these motorhomes are the least expensive out of the three types. Since these motorhomes are the smallest, they are the easiest to drive and have the best fuel economy. Parking the vehicle also isnít a problem because of its size. However, there is very little room for storage as the interior doesnít afford much space. If you value how economical the Class B motorhome is, then this is the one for you.

Class C Motorhome

The Class C motorhome is the compromise between the Class A and the Class B. They are built with a cabin chassis. They are easy to pick out by their overcab sleeping area. The location of the sleeping area allows for more room in the living area. 4-8 people can live in one Class C motorhome. The Class C motorhome is able to tow a separate car so you can leave the motorhome parked while exploring the city in the car. The Class C motorhome has gas mileage somewhere between the Class A and the Class B motorhome. For bigger families that might want to tow a car, take a look at the Class C motorhome. Take a look at our 31 ft Jamboree. With two slide outs, 6 seat belts, and a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, this is a perfect motorhome for your needs. It has two queen beds, two doubles, and all the amenities you need to be comfortable.

Of coarse there are many other differences and opinions about each.
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Old 11-22-2016, 09:30 PM   #5
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Don't forget the Super C.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:30 PM   #6
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There are two broad categories of Class C motorhomes: Standard motorhomes on the Ford E-450 chassis. This also includes and some recent light duty entries from Mercedes and Ram ProMaster. The next category Super C motorhomes on several different chassis such as Freightliner M2 106 or the Ford F-550. The Class A universe is divided into Gas (Typically Ford F53) and Diesel Pushers (E.g. Freightliner Custom Chassis XCS, XCR, Prevost, Spartan). The broad brush transaction cost ranges for new units are as follows:

Standard Class C
$50,000 Base model no frills, no leveling jacks etc to $130,000 fully decked out with all options
Super C
$115,000 reasonably equipped with automatic leveling jacks to $500,000 (or more) fully decked out with a 50,000# tow rating
Class A gas
$80,000 base model, with few options to $200,000 high end with all major options and maximum payload
Class A Diesel
$139,000 Base model, fewer options (usually has automatic leveling jacks etc.) vinyl flooring etc. to $2,500,000 for a Prevost or similar that is maxed out

Standard Class C benefits:
Lower initial cost
Standard Gasoline fuel
Lightweight (GVWR max of 14,500# with a GCWR max of 22,000, Mercedes, Ram Promaster & Ford Transit units typically max out at 12,000#)
Available from a wide variety of manufacturers
Generally lots of inventory
More shops will work on them than the Class A motorhomes (Note: most Ford dealers will not work on ANY motorhomes class C or otherwise, you must take it to a Ford Truck center)
Generally more sleeping areas available
Less expensive tires

Standard Class C cons
Very limited length
Limited tow rating (5,000# or 7,500# depending on coach manufacturer)
Limited range 400 – 500 miles on flat ground
Lower fuel economy
Very noisy in front especially on hills. The E-450 we had was so loud my DW and I could barely carry on a conversation without shouting.
Very limited payload in the longer coaches (31’ or more) Expect to see 1,000# to a max of 2,000# excluding water (fresh, black & grey) usually you will get a usable payload of about 1,000 before adding people or belongings
Limited storage capacity
Automatic leveling jacks are usually a $3,000 - $5,000 option that reduces payload (believe me this option is critical in a motorhome because you don’t want to be driving onto blocks in the middle of the night in the rain)
Coach systems are not as well integrated as in a Class A i.e. discreet low power inverter powering a single outlet, no inside propane gauge
Less expensive exterior wall construction
Much noisier generator gasoline generator
Usually does not come with an Automatic Generator start system
Harsh ride
Very long rear overhang causing difficulty entering and exiting driveways as well as damage to the driver’s side rear panel due to turning right too soon exiting fueling stations
Very limited water carrying capacity (ours was only 32 gallons nominal much less in practice)
Usually have only a single small Group 27 battery which only lasts a very short time and you must start the generator
You lose the cab area for usable space
Poor turning radius
Exposed plumbing and underside wiring
Very hot in the cab area

Super C pros
Good fuel economy (due to diesel engine)
Heavier weight (F-550 GVWR 19,500, GCWR 35,000 & Freightliner M2 106 GVWR 28,000, GCWR 33,000)
More power usually at least 2 Group 27 or 4 Group 27s or 4 GC2 batteries
Better integrated coach system i.e. many have automatic generator start systems
Excellent tow ratings – typically in the 10,000# range but can be up to 50,000# depending on the coach and drivetrain
Quiet diesel generator
Great inside and outside storage capacity
Large tanks typically 50 – 100 gallons fresh water
More fuel capacity and range typically 60 – 100 gallons of diesel translating into a fuel range of up to 1,000 miles on flat terrain
Better construction than the standard Class C units
Usually have heated wet bay (not all the F-550 units do)
Full engine brake (compression, turbo or other effective braking system however the F550 based units generally don't have this option)

Super C cons
Noisy ride (you hear the engine running as well as the transmission)
Very expensive compared to standard Class C units – some M2 106 units are as expensive or more expensive than Class A Diesel pusher motorhomes
Long rear overhang
Harsh truck based ride (some have air rear suspension but most have spring suspension)
Poor turning radius (long wheelbase plus long rear overhang)

Class A gas pros
Full use of the floorplan
More storage inside and out
More options for layouts
More fuel capacity (a common capacity is 80 Gallons which is about 500 to 600 miles on flat ground)
May have heated bays
Reasonable turning radius
Moderate sized tanks
Lots of floorplans available
Lots of inventory
Better visibility most have at least a rearview camera system
Some cost about the same as a well-equipped Class C
Typically have automatic leveling jacks installed at the factory

Class A gas cons
Poor towing capacity typically no more than 5,000#
Very loud inside depending on floor and doghouse insulation
Longer rear overhang (be careful getting fuel like in the gas class C units)
Higher cost service – typically only at Ford Truck and motorhome shops that have limited hours of operation
Harsher ride with spring suspension
Coach systems are not as integrated

Class A diesel pusher benefits
Quiet ride no engine noise
Soft stable ride due to full air suspension
Typically have well-integrated coach systems
Automatic Generator start
Panoramic front view
Very quiet diesel generator
Excellent turning radius for the size of the coach (a 33’ DP will have a 208” wheelbase and a 55 degree wheel cut and can turn around in a standard street)
Fantastic, fuel capacity (Typically starts at 90 Gallons and goes up to 200 gallons of diesel depending on chassis) gives a realistic range of 1,000 miles on flat ground.
Excellent water tank capacity – typically starting at 90 gallons and ending up at about 150 gallons
Well integrated coach systems
More living space for a given coach size
Engine exhaust braking system (Pac Brake, variable vane turbo or other great system)
Usually any truck diesel shop can work on them and many are open 24x7
Last a very long time
Long service intervals
Better manufacturer support
Have tow ratings starting at 5,000# to 50,000#, depending on coach some very inexpensive units have tow ratings of 10,000#
Large battery banks
Large residential refrigerator
Heated wet bay
Neatly run wiring
Weight ratings starting at about 26,000 GVWR up to 55,000# GVWR with a tag axle with GCWR ratings of 30,000 up to 80,000.

Class A diesel pusher cons
Limited inventory
Higher initial cost
Higher cost per hour for service
Typically more complex due to better-integrated systems
Limited floorplans (I only found a few floorplans that had bunk beds and a 10,000# tow rating)

Having owned both I would not go back to a Class C simply due to the lack of payload and towing in the size of unit we needed that also had automatic leveling jacks. If you get a short Class C such as a 24’ that has no slides however is still on the E-450 chassis you can get good payload left after you load water, people, fuel, propane before you load your gear. You will still need to either put up with the heat and noise from the engine or spend a few thousand dollars paying a sound shop to install Hushmat or Dynamat. The super C units get rid of the payload problems for the most part (not all of them though) and have great tow ratings. However you still need to deal with the heat and noise from the engine. As well as the harsh ride typical of a truck. We did get the automatic leveling jack option which reduced our payload by about 500#. I would never get a MH without leveling jacks. It is just too dangerous to drive onto blocks. They are not like TTS or 5th wheels that you can just level side to side with blocks and use the front jacks to level front to rear. We are happy we went to a Class A diesel pusher. Should have done it in the first place.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:33 PM   #7
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They are as big as an A. The difference I see is the cab over. But many A's have sleepers over the driver.
Perhaps I missed it, but I have never seen a Class A with sleepers over the driver. That arrangement typically describes a Class C.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jmcannonball View Post
They are as big as an A. The difference I see is the cab over. But many A's have sleepers over the driver.
Perhaps I missed it, but I have never seen a Class A with sleepers over the driver. That arrangement typically describes a Class C.
There are several gas class A's that have a drop down bunk over the driver/passenger area.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:43 PM   #9
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Simple delineation for the OP:
Class A coaches are one large box. No separate cabin/house layout. This offers the best utilization of space.

Class B are van conversions.

Class C coaches use the cockpit/cabin area from the truck or van chassis that they are based on with the "house" being build around it.

Super C coaches are based on commercial Medium or Heavy duty truck chassis.
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Old 11-23-2016, 12:25 AM   #10
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Another term for the RV's with a Cab/Chassis from a MDT or HDT is "Truck Converstion"
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:31 AM   #11
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Here is another quick and dirty on what's what.
If you see and emblem for a car manufacture on the front, Ram, Ford, GMC and it has a diesel engine then most likely it's a Class C. Basically it resembles a Pickup truck or large van that the back of the cab was cut off and someone added a box to.
Now there will be some Class B's that will be close to it. But they are easier to tell apart because they are vans that may have been modified with a possible slide out.
For Class A's just think of a big box put on top of a full size truck or bus chassis. Class A's can be DP or Gasser and there are few FRED's still out there.

So now that you are all confused just go to your local RV dealer and spend 4 or 5 hours looking thru the different ones.
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Old 11-23-2016, 04:36 AM   #12
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Class A - no body provided from chassis builder
Class B - complete body provided from chassis builder
Class C - Driver's section provided from chassis builder (cutaway van)
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:21 AM   #13
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Class A motor homes start out with a chassis and everything else is built around and on top of it.

Class B motorhomes start out with a complete but empty cargo van and everything is added to, inserted in, cut out, or otherwise modified. At the end it still looks like a van.

There is no such thing as a B+! All B+'s I've seen are Class C's.

Class C motorhomes start with a drive train and cab of a truck or cut away van and build everything else. The final product may or may not have a bed over the cab. Super C's are still just a C built using a really big truck as a starting point.

At the end of the day it matters not what the final product looks like but how it is constructed.
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:29 AM   #14
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But I still can not find anything on who made up the classifications and why a B is called a B and a C a C? To me those two should be reversed.
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class a, class c

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