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Old 10-20-2016, 04:06 PM   #1
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What makes a quality Motorhome?

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. I have discovered that there is a big discrepancy in the perceived quality of brands. For instance, Newmar is perceived to be much better than say Thor. Why is this? What makes one so much better than the other? Aren't the Chassis's all about the same? They seem to be all made by the same few manufactures Ford, or GMC etc. There must be something else the sets them apart. Service? design? materials? craftmanship? What do I look for that can tell me this is a quality coach that will last and be trouble free other than someone just telling me this brand is the best or this one is better than that one? I already know it is NOT listening to the salesman!

I know there is not a single answer to this question, but I am just looking for some guidance to help me to determine this for myself.

Thanks
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:16 PM   #2
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You need a couple million dollars and a custom Prevost converter to sit down with and design your perfect coach. It will be as perfect as you can get.
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:21 PM   #3
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You mentioned that they all use the same chassis, but you have to remember there's MUCH more to a MH than the chassis!

I think if I were considering a new MH, I would spend a lot of time reviewing the different owner forums here on IRV2, looking at what complaints are being discussed, what they are happy or unhappy about.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:39 PM   #4
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I know Newmar has a YouTube video with their build process - check if Thor does. I think right there you will see big differences. Also check out other videos like Jayco.

The Chassis is not the same on all. The walls and roof are not the same. Newmars will never delaminate because of the wall-hung build process. Newmar has a lot of insulation, double pane windows, a sealed, heated basement area. All this will keep you warmer or cooler wherever you are.

The quality of workmanship with the interior finishing is very different between the manufacturers.

I think once you start really looking at details between RVs and not the 'glitter' you'll be able to pick out the differences.

Also, you can get a high quality RV within your budget if you would consider a used one. Good luck!
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:05 PM   #5
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I have owned: Americoach, Winnebago Worrier, Winnebago Brave, Beaver Monterey, Newmar Scottsdale, Safari Simba, & Winnebago Journey. This has been over 26 years. What I look for in the mid range motorhomes is the fit and finish, the amenities, the cost and the service. I have liked the Winnebago's and the Newmar coaches the best. Just my opinion. I can only speak for what I have owned. I would not buy a brand new Winnebago right now, the CEO apologized for the quality at the last rally. He said they are working on it.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:21 PM   #6
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There is no such thing as a trouble free RV that gets used. Some have more problems than others but all have systems that need some continuing maintenance as well as being in a moving building that can need a bit of fixing as things inside adjust. We all own tool kits. The contents are the issue. It can be tools or a high limit credit card. Consider yourself warned. ;-)

Bear in mind that there are chassis games. Pick a floor plan you sort of like then check all the makers and see what the wheel base and axle ratings are. Longer is better, heavier is better.

When you look at the inside part of your inspection should be to sit everywhere one sits, stand where one stands and lay on the bed and couches. Remove shoes as appropriate. Look at what you expect to see. Is there handy storage by the sink and stove, how is the TV sight line, can you get into the shower, how cramped is the toilet, how well padded are all the cushions? Measure the length of the shirts you would normally wear on a hanger and check the height of the closet rod to see if shirts and jackets will fit. Better units will be more comfortable all around.

While opening all those doors and drawers see how well they are fit and swing.

Some companies try to bury you in poorly installed glitz, some do a better job with less expensive materials, some do high end materials properly installed and priced accordingly.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:25 PM   #7
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There is no such thing as a trouble free RV that gets used. Some have more problems than others but all have systems that need some continuing maintenance as well as being in a moving building that can need a bit of fixing as things inside adjust. We all own tool kits. The contents are the issue. It can be tools or a high limit credit card. Consider yourself warned. ;-)

Bear in mind that there are chassis games. Pick a floor plan you sort of like then check all the makers and see what the wheel base and axle ratings are. Longer is better, heavier is better.

When you look at the inside part of your inspection should be to sit everywhere one sits, stand where one stands and lay on the bed and couches. Remove shoes as appropriate. Look at what you expect to see. Is there handy storage by the sink and stove, how is the TV sight line, can you get into the shower, how cramped is the toilet, how well padded are all the cushions? Measure the length of the shirts you would normally wear on a hanger and check the height of the closet rod to see if shirts and jackets will fit. Better units will be more comfortable all around.

While opening all those doors and drawers see how well they are fit and swing.

Some companies try to bury you in poorly installed glitz, some do a better job with less expensive materials, some do high end materials properly installed and priced accordingly.
Sounds like the best advice yet
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:31 PM   #8
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don't think I would have been comfortable owning a Winnebago Worrier.

Enough stuff bothers me now.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:38 PM   #9
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don't think I would have been comfortable owning a Winnebago Worrier.

Enough stuff bothers me now.

That is funny! Good one😀
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:52 PM   #10
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quality is a fleeting definition - it depends on who you ask, what their perceived ideas of quality are, what you feel is the difference between off-the-shelf items and custom built items are, what the perceived value of a dollar to you is, and even simple things like whether something is nailed versus bolted, or stapled versus glued.
the more 'money', the more quality, right? many of us might disagree, though the reality is that perceived value for one is not a quality for the next.
we are not all the same, and therefore quality cannot be as easily defined - it only seems to get exposed when we have our own issues, problems, repairs, break downs, or accidents. It seems that then we really find what we 'want' quality to be, versus what we are really willing to spend our hard earned dollars to get.

A good example is your neighborhood. Some homes might be perceived to be of more 'quality' than the next, yet they are all side-by-side on the same street. Some are large, some might be small, and the size may yet come into play as well, though we would all agree that size should not matter when it comes to quality. The oldest home on the block may not have been well kept for the last decade, and it shows, so the perceived quality to an outsider might seem low - yet the house was built with the best construction techniques at the time. The newest home, with it's new paint, brand new windows, and fancy moldings can come across easily as the most quality home in the area, yet it was built hastily and close up might not actually be what you think it is.

We all want the 'best' for our money, yet we strive and strive to find the LOWEST price, at the dealer with the BEST service, and a no-hassle purchase process. We want that dealer to walk, no crawl, through that unit with a fine toothed comb to find ANY, and I mean ANY, problem or issue that could possibly come to light in the next 10 years. We want the manufacture to hire only the BEST and BRIGHTEST people to build our coach, pay them well, slow the process down to a crawl so that EVERYTHING is built to perfection, without rush, and give a LIFETIME warranty!(why should they be in business if they can't!!). Of course, profit is of no consideration, and they should also make sure that the dealer makes a nice take home pay as well - they have to deal with us!

All this, of course, for a low price.

Quality is fleeting. Yes, it should be what we strive for, but if we really demanded the quality that we think we want, there would be either nothing we could afford, or nothing in the market to purchase.

There are MANY rv manufacturers. There are MANY customers. MANY of us come to the conclusion, in some purchases, that both Quality and Affordability are not always on the same level.

FLOOR PLAN, Floor Plan, floor plan.... then everything else.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:57 PM   #11
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LarryJB View Post
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. I have discovered that there is a big discrepancy in the perceived quality of brands. For instance, Newmar is perceived to be much better than say Thor. Why is this? What makes one so much better than the other? Aren't the Chassis's all about the same? They seem to be all made by the same few manufactures Ford, or GMC etc. There must be something else the sets them apart. Service? design? materials? craftmanship? What do I look for that can tell me this is a quality coach that will last and be trouble free other than someone just telling me this brand is the best or this one is better than that one? I already know it is NOT listening to the salesman!

I know there is not a single answer to this question, but I am just looking for some guidance to help me to determine this for myself.

Thanks
As a purchaser of a lower first cost 2015 Winnebago Class A RV , the main problem is that everything is designed with cost in mind. The only exception may be the cosmetic things that "look good" inside and out. This means that there are numerous things that are engineered so that they have to be perfectly installed on the manufacturing line. If not done perfectly they fail.

The feedback loop to get the quality issues addressed thru engineering changes, manufacturing changes, and improvements to quality checks seems to be broken.

I have another thread in the Winnebago forum where I listed all the things I have dealt with on my RV since purchase. Pretty much are are minor things I fixed myself with little material cost and my time. A lot of the minor things turn into major things if you let them go and don't resolve them in particular anything to do with water leaks. If you don't have a stomach for this you should consider buying a used RV that someone else went thru the break in / work out all the bugs period.

If you can afford to spend more money up front there are some brands like Tiffin that seem to have better build quality and a better dealer network. That said some lower first cost RV brands have good dealers, too, BUT NOT ALL. Most lower first cost RV brands will let any dealer sell their units no matter how poor their service organizations are.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:15 PM   #13
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We recently returned from the Hershey RV show where we had the opportunity to sit in many different MHs. If you're not in a hurry to buy, that would be time well spent in my opinion. Don't go to buy...go to learn. I crawled under and on top of many coaches. We are Class C folks and pick up our new Minnie Winnie 31D tomorrow. Winnebago packs alot in at the under 100K price point. We have already done an orientation on the RV and the fit and finish is great. We live in MN so factory service is easily accesible if we run into something the dealer cannot handle. That was a major consideration for us. Iowans have a strong work ethic, we believe the community in which the manufacturer resides makes a difference.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:31 PM   #14
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You need a couple million dollars and a custom Prevost converter to sit down with and design your perfect coach. It will be as perfect as you can get.
Ahh! But perfect also includes cost. So, a custom Prevost would not be perfect for me.
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