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Old 01-18-2021, 05:15 PM   #1
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What to buy - young family of 4

Brand new to RV’s, really have no experience with them. Did grow up and still help my dad with his 40’ express cruiser and tons of other boats. I am very mechanically inclined but I have no free time. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. We were looking for vacation homes but have thrown in the towel on that idea. I think we are all in on a Class A. Reason for class A is driven primarily by comfort of the trip as right now car trips are painful.

We made our first trip to the RV dealer this weekend. They didn’t have much in terms of class A, I think they only had 9 units. (Giant Rec World in Palm Bay FL). Half were non starters due to budget, I started with a 100k budget but I would could go to 150. Out of the limited selection we really liked the Forest River GT3 33B3 floor plan. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that the bunkhouse practically in the master we might have impluse bought it.

Having cooled off a bit I want to get some “expert” advice. Where does the forest River brand fall in terms of quality? What other direction should I be looking with a $150k or less budget?

I used to be a strictly “buy used” guy, check that, used to only by projects, my last 3 boats was a “new” boat for 33% of new cost and I achieved on all 3. But I have a 60 hour a week job and 2 kids under 3. Time is precious to me, I am willing to consider new or slightly used but can’t afford to make a bad move here.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:19 PM   #2
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Link to what we are looking at:
https://www.forestriverinc.com/broch...t3brochure.pdf
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:35 PM   #3
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As far as bunk models, I think you'll find virtually all will have the bunks located within spitting distance of the main bed area. Especially on something as short as a 33' coach. There are models that have a berth that comes down over the front cab area but putting small children there could be potentially tragic. DW and I raised two children also so have some experience in "kids 101". The Georgetown has been around for quite some time and has been popular as a whole. The later model would have the newer Ford V8 which I would prefer but the V10 has proven itself to be very capable but much noisier at higher rpm.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:52 PM   #4
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I originally wanted nothing longer than 32 when I stepped up from my 26ft class C to a class A. Ended up buying a Fleetwood Bounder 35k. So happy I went longer. Really not a problem maneuvering, but a lot of benefits.

Things I didn’t care about when looking. Outside TV, more than 1 bathroom, fireplace. Those ended up being what I like most about my 35k. Trust me, with kids the extra bathroom is a blessing. The fireplace puts out heat and saves on the propane, and the outside TV is nice.

Also the longer rigs will move you up from 19in tires to 22.5, which really improve the ride.

Trust your initial feeling when looking at quality. You can see how cheap some are made. When you press on the light switches do the walls flex? Do the bathroom doors feel like cardboard? Does the master bedroom have a door or an accordion panel (those suck). Does it have porcelain toilets (those are so much better than plastic). Is the trim already falling down before you even buy it?
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Old 01-19-2021, 12:28 AM   #5
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I would try and find a floor plan you like with hopefully 2 front opposing slides. Check 1 of those out to say a rig with only 1 front slide. Big difference especially with kids. You can buy a lot of motorhome for $150K. Don't be hasty.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:43 AM   #6
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I am going to tell you to buy used, then buy a good extended service plan if you don't have time to work on it yourself. The reason is simple, this is your first motorhome, and from what you have said I doubt you have the time to put into shopping to stand a strong chance of getting it right the first time, if there is such a thing as getting it right the first time as peoples expectations, and style of use tends to change over time. Of course it does not help that you have picked near the likely peak of a seller market in which to buy. Personally I suspect this market will peak in the next 3-5 months as the covid vaccine becomes more widely available, and people start to consider staying in hotels again.



So to sum up my advice, go find a good 6-10 year old coach and pay $50,000 or so for it give or take. Keep it for a few years, then re-evaluate what you think you need, and decide to either trade it in, or keep it if it works for you. You will likely be money well ahead in the long run. Used motorhomes are a lot more like buying a previously owned house vs a used car, most motorhomes see only 5,000 to 6,000 miles per year on average over the long term, and many only get used a few weeks per year, so finding a 10-12 year old motorhome with under 50,000 miles on it is somewhat common. If you are looking at gas class A motorhomes built in the last decade, they are all going to be built on the Ford F53 chassis which changed very little over the last decade until the new 7.3 engine came out this year. Sure there have been some interior changes to motorhomes in the last decade, kitchen sink faucet styles have changed, color schemes have changed some too, also centralized touch screens have gained popularity, but most of this is cosmetic with little change in substance in these years.



If you like the Forest River GT3 Consider something like a Winnebago Vista 35B, a quick search on RV trader shows a 2014 model with 12,000 miles on it available with an asking price of $68,000 (remember asking and selling price are not always the same thing)
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:16 AM   #7
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Not sure why a class A will be less painful than a car/truck on travel days. In our Phaeton, of the 4 TVs, the only TV that can be legally used and still seen is in the bedroom. The midship TV is blocked by slides and the outside TV would not be practical. The front & center TV is visible to the driver, hence not legal to have on for non-navigation use in mist states. There is no provision to strap the kids in in the bedroom, so using that for kids would likely not get legal in most states either.

In many Class Cs, the front TVis not visible to the driver and can be used/seen by passengers while driving and properly secured. In your situation, I would look at used a Super C with bunk beds. They can be found in your price range and may better suit your needs. Further, should you and the little lady decide to add another kid or 2 in the future, the kids will have more sleeping options as there is the over cab area and frequently a fold out couch as well.
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Old 01-19-2021, 08:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Shutterbug57 View Post
Not sure why a class A will be less painful than a car/truck on travel days.
Two young kids.

It will be so much easier for the copilot to just get up and deal with whatever the current demand is in a class A. Something as simple as being able to heat up formula while in motion would be a massive advantage on long travel days. And with the OP's 60-hour work weeks, I suspect that all their travel days are long.

Quote:
In our Phaeton, of the 4 TVs, the only TV that can be legally used and still seen is in the bedroom.
Tablet and hotspot, with Disney+ or any of the other kid-friendly streaming services. Who needs a TV?

Quote:
There is no provision to strap the kids in in the bedroom, so using that for kids would likely not get legal in most states either.
This is the big challenge. In most motorhomes, the only really safe place for a car seat is the copilot's captain's chair. The dinette or sofa may have seat belts, but the question is whether the dinette or sofa will hold together in the event of a crash. Since they are often made of extremely thin materials to save weight, the answer to that question is probably "no." Some of them even have the seat belts bolted to the furniture or floor, rather than to the frame. (But if the furniture you're sitting on is just going to fly loose in a crash, it may be better for the belt not to be bolted to the frame -- otherwise it might just try to garrote you as the furniture emancipates itself!)

The laws about kids being in car seats or boosters generally don't apply to RVs. It's not like a cop can see what's going on inside your RV anyway, so even if it's technically illegal it's unenforceable. So it is entirely up to you as the parent to decide how much risk you're willing to take.
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Old 01-19-2021, 08:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba60tackl View Post
Brand new to RV’s, really have no experience with them. Did grow up and still help my dad with his 40’ express cruiser and tons of other boats. I am very mechanically inclined but I have no free time. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. We were looking for vacation homes but have thrown in the towel on that idea. I think we are all in on a Class A. Reason for class A is driven primarily by comfort of the trip as right now car trips are painful.



We made our first trip to the RV dealer this weekend. They didn’t have much in terms of class A, I think they only had 9 units. (Giant Rec World in Palm Bay FL). Half were non starters due to budget, I started with a 100k budget but I would could go to 150. Out of the limited selection we really liked the Forest River GT3 33B3 floor plan. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that the bunkhouse practically in the master we might have impluse bought it.



Having cooled off a bit I want to get some “expert” advice. Where does the forest River brand fall in terms of quality? What other direction should I be looking with a $150k or less budget?



I used to be a strictly “buy used” guy, check that, used to only by projects, my last 3 boats was a “new” boat for 33% of new cost and I achieved on all 3. But I have a 60 hour a week job and 2 kids under 3. Time is precious to me, I am willing to consider new or slightly used but can’t afford to make a bad move here.


Tiffin gas Open Road highly recommended. They have bunk model.
Once you look at them all you will see why. We did.
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Old 01-19-2021, 09:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bubba60tackl View Post
...

I used to be a strictly “buy used” guy, check that, used to only by projects, my last 3 boats was a “new” boat for 33% of new cost and I achieved on all 3. But I have a 60 hour a week job and 2 kids under 3. Time is precious to me, I am willing to consider new or slightly used but can’t afford to make a bad move here.
I think it's great that you are getting into camping/travelling while the kids are still young. Are you sure you can afford to get into something so expensive? Storage, insurance and maintenance is very costly. I'm just saying to make sure you have your future taken care of before you get into such a big loan. MH's are money pits and if you go the Class A route can include a 10 - 35k repair sometime.
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Old 01-19-2021, 09:39 AM   #11
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I'm in the buy preowned camp. We own a 2011 Mirada on a Ford F53 chassis. We have had no serious issues and very few minor ones. We are full timers, so see and talk to lots of owners various brands. They just about always tell you how great their brand is, but just about all will tell you about problems they have had with their particular motorhome, especially in the first year owning a new build.
If you are mechanically inclined, it takes far less effort to fix things yourself than to find others to do it. Mobile repair guys seem to be much better than dealer, both in fitting you in and actually resolving problems.
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Old 01-19-2021, 09:43 AM   #12
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To the OP, I don’t know what price they quoted you but the GT3 can be had for a lot closer to 110k that 150k.
If you like the Georgetown products check out the website for Motorhome Specialist in Alvarado TX.
They have a great website with a ton of photos for every unit and they post their sale prices.
Best of luck on you search!
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:07 PM   #13
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We started with a Class C when the kids were small. We slept in the overhead and the kids in the bedroom. Now that they are grown, we have moved to a Class A. It is immediately obvious we have lost the extra sleeping space. Class C’s were the obvious choice for us with children.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba60tackl View Post
Brand new to RV’s, really have no experience with them. Did grow up and still help my dad with his 40’ express cruiser and tons of other boats. I am very mechanically inclined but I have no free time. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. We were looking for vacation homes but have thrown in the towel on that idea. I think we are all in on a Class A. Reason for class A is driven primarily by comfort of the trip as right now car trips are painful.

We made our first trip to the RV dealer this weekend. They didn’t have much in terms of class A, I think they only had 9 units. (Giant Rec World in Palm Bay FL). Half were non starters due to budget, I started with a 100k budget but I would could go to 150. Out of the limited selection we really liked the Forest River GT3 33B3 floor plan. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that the bunkhouse practically in the master we might have impluse bought it.

Having cooled off a bit I want to get some “expert” advice. Where does the forest River brand fall in terms of quality? What other direction should I be looking with a $150k or less budget?

I used to be a strictly “buy used” guy, check that, used to only by projects, my last 3 boats was a “new” boat for 33% of new cost and I achieved on all 3. But I have a 60 hour a week job and 2 kids under 3. Time is precious to me, I am willing to consider new or slightly used but can’t afford to make a bad move here.
Lot of good and similar info in this link - https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/ove...as-522281.html

Lot of links in the posts to help you out.

Hope this helps,
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