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Old 10-22-2020, 09:24 PM   #1
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Truthful Experiences

Have owned three diesel pusher motorhomes. Sold the last one a 43 ft.
Now missing traveling in motorhome. Looking to downsize to a 28 - 30 class A motorhome. Most are gas with Ford Engine and chassis.
I would like to hear from owners who drive this size. How do they drive on the road and when you get in the wind. Do they seem to be stable or do you have to add accessories for steering and to stable. How about engine power. Have any trouble pulling a car.
Has anybody downsized and went this route.
Thank YOU
Ron Mapes
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:54 PM   #2
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Ron, it really sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp on the issues. I went from a 30’ Bay Star to a 34’ DP, not much of a change in size, but it eliminated all the issues you are concerned with. Much less driver fatigue, safer, more comfortable ride, no need for add ons to improve handling, no engine and trans noise up front (something you didn’t mention, but a big difference), and a variety of available systems and improvements not found on gas Class A rigs.

With respect to towing, my Bay Star was slowed considerably just towing a Polaris ranger on a small, single axle landscape trailer. I just pulled 4700lbs over the Sierras with my Ventana, which is only powered by a 6.7l ISB, and never got down to 40mph and never needed 3rd gear. I was surprised by the performance and it left me with a new view of the 6.7.

I wouldn’t go back to a gas class A at this point, unless my travel style was to drive no more than around 300 miles/day and preferable less, and not tow anything. You can drive further and tow, but it’s a lot more work and leaves you a lot more fatigued at the end of the day. Just my findings - others will vary.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:42 PM   #3
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We're not too far from your situation. Getting close to 80 yrs old and still wanted to meet our friends and visit grand kids- so we bought an old 2000 Bounder gas. Much to our surprise it was very quiet on the flat. Engine noise was minimal, no shaking rattling cabinets etc. In spite of all the complaints about handling issues made by others- we've not experienced any. Biggest complaint would be pulling hills- that sucker V10 just screams, I leave the batteries out of my hearing aids. So far the hills are the worst experience we've had with the 6 months and 3000 km we've owned this thing. Not as pleasant as a diesel, but at least tolerable for our last years of RVing.
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Old 10-23-2020, 04:15 AM   #4
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There’s also the Allegro Breeze 31BR at 31.5’ - something to think about. That way you could still have rear engine quiet, diesel power, and air suspension, but a nice small rig by a good builder. And most of these features, while highly desirable, are not available on a gas coach:

CHASSIS FEATURES
Full Air Brakes STD
Exhaust Brake STD
Four Aluminum Wheels STD
Electronic Stability Control/Traction Control STD
Tire Pressure Monitoring STD
Valid Air Leveling System STD
Independent Front Suspension STD
Air Ride System STD
Front Disc Brakes STD

My Bay Star was 30’ and seemed to fit about anywhere.
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:31 AM   #5
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Changed from Journey DP, 34-35' as I recall, to an ACE 30' gas V10.
Towed Jeep Grand Cherokee with both, 20-25K miles with the ACE. Crossed the Rockies twice, visited most of the mountain sights Yellowstone and West to Seattle. The ACE pulled grades faster than the Journey. The Journey had a small (275 horse) engine.



The Journey as purchased with out modification was quieter, smoother ride, and more stable to passing trucks.


Modifications to the ACE:


1. Rear track bar
2. Steering stabilizer
3. Cheap handling fix
4. Insulated the front wheel well area (cockpit deck) and doghouse.


The mods made the ACE handle about the same as the Journey. The ACE was still louder, especially on grades. The ride was rougher than the air bag Journey.


You are pretty much limited to gas in a class A if you stick to the 28-30' parameter.
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:43 AM   #6
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1. My Bay Star already had Sumo springs when I purchased it used. The overall handling improved after:
Front end alignment
New tires and adjusting air pressure based on axle weights
Adding Roadmaster steering stabilizer up front.

2. Driving it requires a bit more attention:
Overall width-let's face it, you take up more of the lane which means you have to keep an eye on passing trucks. But...not any different than a DP.

3. For multiple reasons, since buying the motorhome, we travel 350 miles or less per day. Is that because you have to be more attentive while driving? Probably, but at the same time, at 70, traveling 500 miles in our car is more tiring than it used to be.

4. There's no question that a gas motorhome has a rougher ride than a car, and there is more noise. If all roads were nice and smooth, without expansion joints, the slight amount of added engine noise wouldn't make a difference and one could enjoy 500 miles or more. But the reality is that hitting stretches of bad road and increased noise does have a fatigue factor. But, different drivers will have different levels of fatigue.

5. The amount of wind does play a factor in stability. Some of it is sheer physics as you are driving a big box down the road and a health side wind does play a factor. My toad mandates staying at 65 mph or under, but realistically, I find the rig to be more stable at 60 mph and if the winds are bad enough, I drop the speed to 55-57 mph, which doesn't bother me because I'm not trying to go more than 300 miles on a typical day.

6. Without personal experience, I have no reason to doubt that driving a DP would be a less fatiguing and would enable higher speeds if no restrictions are required by the toad.

7. Purchase price and operating cost are a factor for us. We were able to buy a newer and nicer used gas rig with our allocated budget, and we're not making monthly payments. If money were no object.....I'd be the owner of a nice DP just for the improvement in ride and noise. And, it wouldn't be because we wanted a bigger rig, although I'd be in favor of adding a couple of feet or so to get a bit more room in the bedroom and bath.

The bottom line is that whatever RV you own, the pleasure is in the ability to travel and explore while taking along your living space and not having to deal with hotels, restaurants for all meals, high beer prices, dirty public restrooms, etc. Obviously, for full timers, it's a different ball game.

For us, we're enjoying the Bay Star. When and if it becomes less than enjoyable, it will be time to figure out what will meet our traveling needs and make a change!
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:42 AM   #7
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I never downsized but did own a couple 35 foot gas rigs before moving to a 40 ft DP. IMO the difference in ride, handling, and road & engine noise is dramatic. And that was with some handling upgrades on the gas chassis. I think you would find downsizing to be uncomfortable, but whether it was unacceptable depends on lot on how flexible your attitudes are.

Late model gas chassis rigs have plenty of power and decent 5 or 6 transmissions so performance is OK. Maybe even excellent on a 30 footer, which ought to have a good power-to-weight ratio. Power-wise, towing should be a breeze but the hitch receiver may be limited in capacity. Typically 5000 lb on late model gas rigs. But a coach that size will be a sort wheelbase and probably have a relatively long rear overhand, both of which make for less than ideal road manners. On the plus side, it should have a shorter turning radius than you experienced before.


I think you would find the Allegro Breeze that Wold suggest a more suitable downsize.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:16 AM   #8
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Hi Ron! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

I've never downsized like you are describing, but my gut feeling is that you will be very disappointed with the change. The Allegro Breeze that R.Wold suggested might be a good way to go.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-23-2020, 12:38 PM   #9
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You don't say if you intend to buy new or used. There will certainly be differences between the two. The sheer weight of the DP makes them ride better.

With that said, if you buy new/newer and get a nice (not a entry level model) and go into it with an open mind, you'll be fine. If you spend every waking moment trying to compare each system to a DP, you may be disappointed. The newer gassers are pretty sophisticated and well appointed. Unless your 43' had something larger than ISL 400 engine, I think you'll find the newer Ford's will climb just as well if not better.
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Old 10-23-2020, 02:36 PM   #10
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I have a 17,000 GVWR 2002 28 ft Safari Trek with an 8.1L on the Workhorse P32 chassis (29'5" bumper to bumper), It has just about all the available suspension upgrades, many of which were installed by the previous owner. This includes, Super Steerrear track bar, SuperSteer front springs, Super Steer bell cranks, Koni FSD shocks, Safe-T Plus, Airlift 5000 rear airbags with in cab compressor control (single channel), Urethane sway bar bushings, front spreader bar, etc. It handles ok with side winds up to about 20 mph, over that and driver fatigue becomes an issue. A year ago I drove from Dallas, TX to Amarillo right after a cold front blew through, with north side winds gusting to about 30-35 mph at times, I made it, but it was not fun. When I first bought the coach before the Koni shocks, rear air bags, new sway bar bushings, etc. passing 18 wheelers would blow me all over the place, now not so much, sometimes I barely notice when the pass, of course when there are cross winds, etc. it is a different matter.
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:26 PM   #11
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I think there is much more to it than gas VS diesel. Not all Ford F-53's drive the same and more weight does not neccessarly mean a better ride.
My big epipheny actually came with a 25' class C. My trip to the CAT scale showed that I was 900# overweight on the rear axle spot on GVWR and about 1200# light on the front. I spent a week shifting stuff around, like moving the spare tire to the front bumper and putting everything heavy forward. The difference in handling was amazing.
I engineered racing boats for a living, so learned years ago that heavy, does not equal strong. Heavy boats have higher loads on the structure and higher centers of gravity make for increased rolling. The same applies to motorhomes. Heavy coaches have more momentum when encountering rough roads and heavier coaches, especially those with long rear overhangs sway more. More weight on the front axle instead of in the rear makes the steering more stable. A longer wheel base is more stable as well.
So look hard at all the specs, not just the floorplan and when you test drive, note how those specs relate to the way it handles and be prepared to ignore preconceived notions about brand.
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Old 10-24-2020, 07:12 PM   #12
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Has anybody had any experience driving a Winnebago Vista 29 Motorhome
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmap View Post
Has anybody had any experience driving a Winnebago Vista 29 Motorhome
Not the 29 but we have a 32YE. It was close to undrivable on the interstate before we added a rear sway bar and Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer. Those changes made it at least safe to drive. A good front alignment and the CHF on the front and it now does pretty well. Of course its still rough riding but not a lot you can do about that without spending a boatload of money. It is a leave spring suspension, afterall.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:55 PM   #14
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I rented a 30’ gasser (Winnebago Vista) this spring for a 3000 mile round trip from the Midwest to the west side of the Rockies and back. Compared to my 40’ DP Forza it is night and day and I really think downgrading will be difficult for anyone. The noise difference, ride quality difference, impact of crosswinds difference are all major. If you can afford it, downsize to a 35’ DP like a newmar New Aire...I had one next to me in a campsite in the Smokies a couple of weeks ago and it looked awesome!!
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