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Old 11-02-2016, 11:23 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by LarryJB;3302786[I
]My wife and I are on a quest to find the perfect Motorhome for us. One that meets all our needs and desires and still fits into our budget. We have looked at several brands and floor plans and have not come to a decision as of yet.
Karen and I recently attended the iRV2 rally in Elkhart, Indiana, where a majority of motorhomes are made. While there, we went on a tour of the Thor factory that makes the big pusher diesels. We had been told no photographs were allowed, but I asked the tour guide and he said... no problem, go ahead.. I took 20 - 30 photographs and can share these with you though it would have been good to have the guide explaining each of the stops. I was very impressed with the quality of their manufacturing process, especially liked how the flooring, walls and ceiling were constructed. Cannot attest to how local dealers handle Thor warranty issues. I will say that I know many folks that own Tiffin motorhomes and the owner of that company has been very responsive to anyone that has a problem, even calling and talking with the owner.

Look at the different brands and then find floorplans in each brand that meet your needs would be a good starting point. We love our floorplan and storage in our 2011 Damon Avanti 3106 (including a large passthrough in the rear large enough to hold a motorscooter, Honda generators and lots of other stuff (if you needed those items). But most folks do not like the front engine diesel; I don't mind the noise but love the good mileage (14 mpg when not towing dinghy). Thor bought Damon just before we bought our unit and while they handled smaller warranty issues well, we began having upholstery problems (material peeling from backing) and due to time since purchased, they didn't take responsibility (the upholstery material manufacturer did provide replacement fabric but not the labor to reupholster).

Another military retiree and I have been teaching an RV101 class in Jan and Feb each year for about 8 years when we are snowbirds at Key West Naval Air Station RV park. I have a class A; he has a 5th wheel. We walk around the RV covering each of the items starting with tires, batteries, refrigerator, etc (I also wrote a book covering the issues we discussed and sold it for what it cost to have it printed;after some 400 copies sold when the cost of printing and shipping got to where I thought it was too high, I converted the file to a PDF and have been sending it to any that wanted it). As we discuss these during the class, many times someone will mention an issue that they are having with their particular RV and we have come to learn that there can be issues with even the most expensive units.
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:37 AM   #58
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WonderLodge

Not sure what your budget is.
I bought a 1993 Blue Bird Wanderlodge for under $50k.
Original price was $419k in 1993.
Quality is top of the line.
All doors, cabinets and drawers are still perfect.
These are the Best Buy for the money!
Sites to look at:
WanderlodgeOwnersGroup.com
BuyByeBlueBird.com

We just had a rally with 147 Birds at Pine Mountain GA.
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:38 AM   #59
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All I can say is stay as far away from Thor from Camping World as you can. I bought a 2016 38' and had nothing but trouble with it even after spending two weeks at the factory to have problems fixed. I was so fed up with the RV after six months of going back and forth with Thor I traded it for a $40,000 loss. I will never even look at a Thor again.
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:41 AM   #60
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What makes a quality MH?

An ornate ceiling and at least 100hp per 10' of DP coach. Oh, and at least a 4XXX series tranny.
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:47 AM   #61
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FYI, I own a Newmar Essex and in my opinion, Newmar has a design flaw with their full slide. Every time it rains and the full slide is extended, water pools on top of the slide, which is located on the driver's side. I have taken it in multiple times to have the problem resolved but Newmar tells me they cannot find a problem and it is operating as intended. Their suggestion is for me to drain the water by using the leveler jacks prior to retracting the slides. Even though I follow their suggestion, there is always some water remaining on top of the slide after retracting the slide. This makes for a nice surprise when I hit the brakes driving down the road, the driver gets a nice shower.

Newmar said this condition is addressed in the owners manual, so be sure to read the full owners manual prior to purchasing a Newmar.

GLM
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:58 AM   #62
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There is already a lot of great advice in the posts - "the perfect coach" is very personal indeed. Some questions to consider are:

How much will we be using the RV? Full time, a couple of months or ?
What are the "must haves" in the interior? What size and how many beds? How many baths? What type and size of fridge? How much storage?
Where are we likely to go? Mostly freeway driving, mostly smaller roads, or a combination. How long will we drive in a day? Will we dry camp a lot or mostly stay in RV parks?
What will the weather be like? Warm to hot most of the time or some cold/winter stays?
Will we need to tow a vehicle or trailer?
What budget can I afford for fuel, insurance and maintenance?

So you get the idea. Once you have the important questions answered you can compare across brands to see how well they fit your desired features and functions.

When we were looking a few years ago, several told us to pick the floor plan we liked the best - then the rest. It was excellent advice.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:10 PM   #63
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WOW! You will never find a better collection of experience than here! Almost all of the posts are listening to me talk. Cannot add specifics on brands but I can relate the wife's and my process.
Each of us after looking, reading and video watching came up with 3 lists, 1. MUST HAVE 2. SO - SO 3. CANNOT DEAL WITH AT ANY PRICE. We set a goal of a diesel pusher at 80K.
It took a good year and a half and several offers that were not accepted until we got our coach. It had all of each of our must haves, her: lg closet,2dr fridg, 1.5 bathrooms, Me: Fiberglass roof, Cummins power, <10yr old <30Kmi, new tires. Almost all the SO-SOs and none of the cannot deal withs.
You can do it with patience and willingness to travel and see the ones you think will work.
Our 06 HR Ambassador has exceeded our expectations.
Good Luck with yours!
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:17 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by LarryJB View Post
Is that a common problem? Should I rethink this?
Possibly - one of the selling points of our unit was the fact that you could access everything when the coach was buttoned up and ready for the road (Fridge, kitchen & Bath sink, bed, toilet, - even the shower!

Nice touches when you just spent a quick overnight at the Cracker Barrel and want a quick shower and brush the teeth before treating yourself to breakfast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstreitz View Post
There is already a lot of great advice in the posts - "the perfect coach" is very personal indeed. Some questions to consider are:

How much will we be using the RV? Full time, a couple of months or ?
What are the "must haves" in the interior? What size and how many beds? How many baths? What type and size of fridge? How much storage?
Where are we likely to go? Mostly freeway driving, mostly smaller roads, or a combination. How long will we drive in a day? Will we dry camp a lot or mostly stay in RV parks?
What will the weather be like? Warm to hot most of the time or some cold/winter stays?
Will we need to tow a vehicle or trailer?
What budget can I afford for fuel, insurance and maintenance?
Bstreitz hit the nail on the head! For example, our needs are drastically different than a couple who only go out 3-4 times a year

Consider taking a look at the Forest River Berkshire line of Coaches - great value for the money, and Forest River knows how to treat their owners - some of the best Customer Service we have ever experienced!
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:49 PM   #65
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Wow, a great volume of responses. How wonderful.
I will throw my 2 cents in here. I got my dealer's License so I could renovation Diesel Class A's and now work on about anything someone brings me, but still only invest in Class A Diesels. I have had or worked on just about everything and I will tell you what, you can tell a well thought out, well put together coach. And I would say in general you get what you pay for comparing the MSRPs. I have a 2006 Beaver Patriot which had a base MSRP of $370K (the guy ordered it with just about every option he could +$100K). Well this is the most solid rig I have ever had. I had an American Eagle, which is comparable in MSRP, it was nice but I felt it was a bit less solid. THen look down the stream at say an Allegro Bus, which, to me, seems thrown together.
But your right and as others have said, most are built on Incomplete chassis, Ford, GM, Freightliner, Spartan, etc. so the underpinnings same to same are a lot the same. Some, like Monaco/Beaver, made their chassis. Upgrades in shocks, airbag, Independant Front, etc. can make a big difference in ride, noise and driving.
When it comes to the House, things that come to mind for me basement Compartments and their doors get more solid, the central wiring hub gets well organized (the Allego I had just had a jumble of wires and fuses hanging everywhere), the wall/floor/ceiling construction get thicker and more insulated (the brochures usually talk to the subject), the roof cap becomes one piece and then the quality of the construction inside gets to heavy solid wood cabinets that really stand up.
So, yes, it is a complicated route, best bang for buck.
Me personally, I would buy an older highend over a newer lowend any day. If it is gasoline, miles really matter just like a car. Diesel, mileage should not be considered up to 150-200K miles, but really low miles may bring up other issues, seals dry out and such. More important to me is the occupied time. You usually can tell if the rig was lived in, residential recliners and such, high amount of wear and tear.
One mans opinion
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:52 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zappaw View Post
FYI, I own a Newmar Essex and in my opinion, Newmar has a design flaw with their full slide. Every time it rains and the full slide is extended, water pools on top of the slide, which is located on the driver's side. I have taken it in multiple times to have the problem resolved but Newmar tells me they cannot find a problem and it is operating as intended. Their suggestion is for me to drain the water by using the leveler jacks prior to retracting the slides. Even though I follow their suggestion, there is always some water remaining on top of the slide after retracting the slide. This makes for a nice surprise when I hit the brakes driving down the road, the driver gets a nice shower.

Newmar said this condition is addressed in the owners manual, so be sure to read the full owners manual prior to purchasing a Newmar.

GLM
Have you considered installing a slide topper? Personally, I can't imagine owning a coach without slide toppers.
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:54 PM   #67
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You have already learned your first lesson: Don't listen to the salesmen. They get paid to lie. Advice: Visit as many RV manufacturers as you have time for.
Cost is a personal factor. Are you better off buying a used high quality rig , like Prevost or Foretravel, or a new lower quality one with new goodies? After owning class C's, fifth wheel and now, Class B home built, I would conclude that all chassis are excellent, all diesels are excellent, all transmissions are excellent, ditto for brakes, air bags, etc,,. In short, just about everything south of the floorboards is good. It's the coach that will reveal excellence or shoddy quality. With the slides in, can you move the captain seat back? recline it?, or will you be head bumping into the slide, while reclining in your seat and waiting for the next ferry? Is the floor covered in beige carpeting? Particle board or plywood or solid woods? Cheapo alert. Test drive the rigs for at least one hour each, two hours would be better.
If the salesman/dealer wont encourage long test drives, head for the exit.
Good luck, hunting.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:27 PM   #68
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"Remember than in a diesel you should get 10hp per 10 feet"
I'm pretty sure you meant 10hp per foot.
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:24 PM   #69
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Story short and discounting the bus conversions that are priced beyond most budgets, unless very old, look for the obvious signs of quality.
With all, look for full body paint, Fiberglas roof, sunbrella type material in a alum. roll covered awning and solid wood cabinetry in the framework as well as the doors.
With a DP, having a side radiator is a deal breaker for me and if it has one, most all other things of quality, both inside and out, will follow suit.
I like the formula of having 10HP per foot, too!
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:54 PM   #70
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Want to retry your logic and/or calculation? Think you meant 10hp per foot which is plausible!
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