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Old 06-20-2020, 02:47 PM   #1
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First Class A, Opinions?

Looking for a little crowdsourcing here, not to start a brand war.

We are a family of 7 with the pleasure of living just outside of Charlotte NC.
Looking at jumping into this somewhat foreign world of RVing. Blessed to be a professional airline pilot for one of the three Major US airlines, so obviously have quite a bit of extra time on my hands these days, like the whole summer. Wife works remotely for a major us accounting firm.

Had a chance to rent a 36foot Gas class A Jayco in Orlando couple weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. We love to travel and get away for even a few days at a time. With so many great destinationsions within 3-4 hours of our location, lowland lowlands, beaches, etc. Mountains only a little over an hour north. Hotels with 5 growing children are starting to add up, and airbnbs in desireable locations can also get pricey. Hence we thought Rving might be a fun solution.

Have been on the hunt for about a month now, and have a few units in mind, opinions appreciated. Sort of three budget levels.

1) Entegra Coach Vision XL, preferable with paint. Seems like a nice mid level coach. Two year warranty doesn't hurt.

2.) Georgtown GT7. Impressions were not as positive, but finishes were quite nice, great layout, but white interior, 5 kids maybe not. Pricey. You Tiffin owners can probably chime in here with you votes.

3.) For about the same price as high end gas, and entry level diesel? Seen year old coachmen's as low as the 130s.

My main concern with Diesel is the complexity of the systems, perhaps more prone to breaking? Doesn't get simpler than a ford gas. Drivability concerns on a long western tour, and mountain driving probably cons for the gas. Appreciate any and all opinions! Thanks
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Old 06-20-2020, 03:10 PM   #2
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Buy a gasser first. Learn the ropes and what you like/don't like about it then get a DP with everything you now know you want. The ride quality and the lack of engine noise when travelling are the main reasons we enjoy ours.
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Old 06-20-2020, 03:14 PM   #3
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We like our 2019 Fleetwood Southwind 37F as you would say...high end gas... Heres why.

6 completely separate sleeping spaces (King bed for you, and 5 more areas)

Two FULL baths with the two showers. (We have four of people and its super convenient!)

Truma, unlimited hot water system. (Runs on propane... full tank last weeks / months)

Residential fridge.

5 TV's total (one with specific hookups for the kids video game systems).

Washer / dryer combo.

Many other great features, but the price new might be higher than you are thinking or wanting to spend. Our cost was in the $160's. Many "high end gas" coaches sell from $150k up because the MSRP on mine and other new ones are between $215-225k.

But... Im pretty sure when they were closing out the 2019's and the 2020's started showing up they were down in the high $130's to mid $140's marked down to move.

We are on our fourth coach and love the maintenance costs and reliability of the Ford gas products. In the last 5 years and about 50,000 miles total with this and our last gas coach.... we have had ZERO failures or repairs. Only expense has been oil change and regular service of about $225 a year at our Ford dealer.

After owning ONE diesel, we purchased used (our second coach)... We spent $97K to buy.... $8k replacing the turbo and other repairs.... then trading it back in, on the road in the middle of a trip, after only 10 months for $78k. We lost around $25k total. Owning a diesel isn't always the greatest experience like some people say. Some people have great results, we didn't!

What I can tell you about owning an RV..... its exactly what you think it might be..... expensive.

But for us the enjoyment outweighs the costs, and the memories we have are priceless!

Good Luck!
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Old 06-20-2020, 04:22 PM   #4
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Buy more MH than you think you need... one time. The bigger the DP, the fewer people it will sleep.

Before buying any rig, have it weighed with full fuel and water to see how much Cargo Carrying Capacity... sort of like weight and balance. With 7 people... add easily 750+ lbs to the weight to find out how stuff you can put in the rig. Unfortunately on the gas’s chassis it will not be very much, especially if it’s 38’ long.
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Old 06-20-2020, 07:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by AZ RV'r View Post
We like our 2019 Fleetwood Southwind 37F as you would say...high end gas... Heres why.

6 completely separate sleeping spaces (King bed for you, and 5 more areas)

Two FULL baths with the two showers. (We have four of people and its super convenient!)

Truma, unlimited hot water system. (Runs on propane... full tank last weeks / months)

Residential fridge.

5 TV's total (one with specific hookups for the kids video game systems).

Washer / dryer combo.


Many other great features, but the price new might be higher than you are thinking or wanting to spend. Our cost was in the $160's. Many "high end gas" coaches sell from $150k up because the MSRP on mine and other new ones are between $215-225k.

But... Im pretty sure when they were closing out the 2019's and the 2020's started showing up they were down in the high $130's to mid $140's marked down to move.

We are on our fourth coach and love the maintenance costs and reliability of the Ford gas products. In the last 5 years and about 50,000 miles total with this and our last gas coach.... we have had ZERO failures or repairs. Only expense has been oil change and regular service of about $225 a year at our Ford dealer.

After owning ONE diesel, we purchased used (our second coach)... We spent $97K to buy.... $8k replacing the turbo and other repairs.... then trading it back in, on the road in the middle of a trip, after only 10 months for $78k. We lost around $25k total. Owning a diesel isn't always the greatest experience like some people say. Some people have great results, we didn't!

What I can tell you about owning an RV..... its exactly what you think it might be..... expensive.

But for us the enjoyment outweighs the costs, and the memories we have are priceless!

Good Luck!
Thanks for Reply.

Nice RV, very similar to what we are looking for. Any issues in the Mountains, and do you tow a toad with it?
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Old 06-20-2020, 08:01 PM   #6
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First, diesel coaches don't break often. The chassis, engine, and transmission are all commercial grade, the same basic components that 18 wheelers use to haul the nation's goods around the country. Professional truckers expect their rigs to last a million miles! Second, a coach is like a house with cavaats: It has the water department, complete with pumps, fresh water tank, and a city water fitting. The sewer department has its tank plus tank dump system. The electric "utility" has a 12v system, a 120v system with access via power cable to city power, and a power generation department. Third is fit and finish: Does the coach have real wood or is some or all of the cabinetry composite (fiberboard)? Are the floors quality, or is there cheap carpeting? Entry level coaches, often gas-powered fall into the category of not having quality interiors. You asked about mountain driving... a gas engine does not have the torque of a diesel. On a grade the engine will have to work very hard, turning at 4500 rpm to give you 30-35 mph of speed. A diesel will turn at about 2500 rpm in comparison. Would you rather have a Ford transmission or an Allison commercial tranny? A Workhorse chassis or a Freightliner or Spartan chassis? Maintenance, granted is cheaper with a gas coach. But this is subjective. So, this is my 2 cents worth!
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Old 06-20-2020, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hispeedtube View Post
Thanks for Reply.

Nice RV, very similar to what we are looking for. Any issues in the Mountains, and do you tow a toad with it?
Yes we tow a 2018 Jeep Wrangler 4-door.

Heres the some truth's about gas coaches and mountains.

First just like cars, the engine rev's higher going up hill and yes it is louder than cruising down a flat highway.

BUT.... you will often hear MANY with diesels on this site saying things like "its SO loud you have to scream to have a conversation"

Lets me tell you some of the same people have admitted to having a gas coach in the 80's -90's and thats what they are basing it on. At 65 my RV rev's at exactly 2200 RPM almost exactly the same as my daily driver. The sound proofing is so much better than even our last coach that was a 2016. It is so quiet I can literally whisper to my wife in the passenger seat if the kids are taking a nap.

Now when climbing mountains thats a different story. First, when you go look at modern Ford coaches and look at the dash, something you might overlook is the tachometer has no redline. Because you will never reach it even if you tried. I have revved my coach north of 4500 and yes its louder but not anything you would need to scream to talk.

As far as speed... thats a tough one. It depends on many factors from mountain to mountain. Ive had the foot to the floor doing 30 up hill with the semi's in the right lane and on other hills Im doing 50 and passing.

Downhill is easy if you're careful at the start. Here are some thoughts I follow. It's easier to control if you don't get going to fast. I usually manually downshift the shift lever on the steering column. Then I pick a safe speed like 45. I then let the tranny keep the engine speed low but when it hits 55 (10 above my comfort level of 45) I firmly press the brakes for around 5-10 seconds till im back to 45 and repeat when necessary. If I find that Im getting back up to 55 to fast and using the brakes to often. I then lower my speed range to 40-50 and if needed try shift further to a lower gear. Slow and steady wins the race, caution and patience going up or down the hills is the best choice with your family inside.

As my signature says we have RV'ed all of the lower 48 and into Canada twice.

The truth is in a multi-week trip driving you might only have a couple of days in the mountains and those wont be all day. So what Im trying to say is in the big picture mountain driving is a small fraction of the time behind the wheel.

Hope this helps and If I can answer anything else just ask.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:06 PM   #8
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Diesel vs gas is asked quite a bit on the forum and here are my thoughts.

Lots of opinions here and I agree with those that say the ride and noise levels in a diesel are better, but for us the gas was the best choice. At this stage of our lives I couldn’t justify the nearly 30k or more for a comparable coach. Sure, we could probably find a lower end diesel for close to what we paid, but it isn’t going to be comparable in quality to our Newmar when it comes to construction methods and components.

As for mountain driving, yep, the v10 revs. Can my wife and I still have a conversation, yep, albeit we do have to talk a bit louder, but for the couple minutes it’s no big deal and I’ve still got that 30k in my pocket. On the downhill, do I miss the exhaust brake that was in my dually truck, yep, but the 6 speed transmission does a fine job helping control the decent speed and I never have to ride the brakes on the way down. The Ford 6 speed has been in the F53 for a long time and is a great transmission. We’ve had no overheating issues and we pull a 4750 lb Ford Ranger.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:51 PM   #9
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With seven people, it's going to be a tight fit with just about any kind of motorhome or pull type trailer. There might be some 5th wheels that can easily accommodate a family of seven though.

If you're really wanting a motorhome, you're probably going to have to look at a 40 foot or longer diesel pusher with the appropriate cargo carrying capacity. As a pilot you'll very familiar with the dangers of weight limits and C of G. The diesel pusher can pull a good size tow vehicle as well.

Floor plan would be very important. You might want to look at a bunk model with pullout opposing sofa beds and a dinette that can be made into a bed. As well being able to access all areas with the slides in. With a family of seven you'd want some good size holding tanks.

If you can afford it, a tour bus type of Class A might make things comfy for the family.

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Old 06-20-2020, 10:31 PM   #10
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I totally agree with AZ RV’R about gas coaches. I’ve gone from NJ cross country 3 times and crossed all the mountains;Rockies;cascades;sierras,etc. and have never had excessive noise for more than a few minutes. My unit is a fleetwood storm 32bh(bunk house) which has queen in back, 2 bunks, dinette sleeps 2, jackknife sofa(1), queen drop down over the driver section so technically I can sleep 9 but only 1 bathroom. For us that’s ok. Usually only 2 of us but have had 5. Cabinets and finish on outside plus other add ones tends to separate lower end from higher end brands. I’ve seen some nice used units on rvtrader.com that are “bunkhouse”units that would fit your gang. My favorite when I hit the lottery is a Tiffin 35QBH. Many others make a bunkhouse model. I would suggest going used for your first mh. Kinda the first rule of finding the best is layout, layout and finally layout that works for you. Good luck in your search.
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Old 06-20-2020, 11:10 PM   #11
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Old 06-20-2020, 11:46 PM   #12
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Ok, here go some things in no particular order:


1, Don't expect to buy the right coach the first time around, by all means try to, but simply put you don't know what you don't know. This includes what features you will love, hate, or just think you would love or hate until you have lived with them for a while.


2, As a corollary you will not know how you like to travel in an RV until you have done it for a while.


3, You have a big family, big enough that almost any RV is going to feel small after being stuck inside it on a rainy day.


4, Consider your first RV a learning tool, see above, sure do your best to pick something that fits your family and how you plan to use the coach, just don't spend more than you are willing to loose if and when it comes time to trade in on something else.


5, Related to number 4, consider buying something a bit older, maybe something 6-10 years old where the previous owner has taken a big chuck of that initial depreciation so that it will not hurt too much if you decide to sell it and buy something different in a couple of years.


6, This may be obvious, but kids grow, buy an RV that will still fit your family in 3-5 years, in case you actually do a good job of picking the first time around.


7, with 7 people strongly consider a bath and a half model, which probably puts you in diesel pusher territory.


8, Don't forget OCCC, cargo carrying capacity (how many pounds of weight the coach can carry)


9, Don't overly focus on the stuff you can change, A couple of years ago on a nice spring day I had an afternoon to waste on the south side of Houston, so I went to the PPL motorhomes consignment lot to look around. I found myself watching the people shopping nearly as much as looking at RV's and what I saw over and over again were people focusing on all the wrong things. Such as things that were easily changed like the color of the curtains, vs the coach being diesel or gas.


10, When it comes time to buy a used coach, focus on condition, condition, condition, sure initial build quality, brand, etc matters too, but a budget brand entry level coach in pristine condition beats the former million dollar coach with side wall delamination and rotted out roof nearly every time.


11, As a follow up to that, inspect, inspect, inspect if you don't have the skills to do this yourself, hire an independent RV inspector, don't trust the dealer's inspection to find faults. see the inspector locator at NRVIA.org


12, make a list of your must have features, then share it here so we can point out things you have not considered. Things like number of sleeping spaces, consider how you will use the coach, how big of water tanks do you need, are there any special needs?


13, Don't expect to save money, traveling by motorhome will likely cost more than getting hotel rooms, even for a large family.
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Old 06-21-2020, 05:19 PM   #13
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We are also a family of 7 (2 parents; 5 kids) and we take our dogs. We owned a ‘15 Canyon Star toy hauler with double queen bunks in the garage for 4 years then bought a ‘19 Ventana bunk bed model.

Think about how you will spend a typical day at the places you want to visit. When does everyone get up? What will people do if someone is still sleeping? Use that to evaluate every potential floor plan. Now think about a rainy day - same thing.

Let me outline 2 very different typical days for us:
- amusement park: everyone gets up about the same time; eats and out the door.
- the beach (oceanfront park): some folks sleep until noon and other wake early. “Breakfast” happens over about 5 hours. At least 3 different schedules in the same space.

With 7 people I think the most important considerations are:
- floorplan
- bathroom space - bath and a half recommended for that many people
- what are you going to tow? How much does it weigh? That may force you into a DP.
- beds - will the kids fit this year and 3 years from now?

Take your time deciding spend a few hours inside the prospective rigs if you can.

Good luck on your decision process.

- Richard
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Old 06-22-2020, 06:47 AM   #14
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So far so good with our GT7 36D7!

I'm guessing you checked out the 36K7 with the bunks?

For the price I think the GT7 is hard to beat.

Fiberglass roof, 7000k generator, stacked washer dryer, solid counter tops throughout, 2x 15k air conditioners with heat pumps, etc.
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