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Old 10-09-2021, 05:04 PM   #1
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Tips for Downsizing from a Class A to a B or B+

Hi all,

We are starting the research phase to downsize from our 42' Class A to a B or B+. We fulltimed in the Class A with our family of five for almost two years and it was great. But we're back in a S&B while our kids finish school and the Class A is less than ideal for the weekend and other trips we do.

Prior to the Class A we had a 30' Class C and prior to that we were in pop-ups.

The smaller class B and B+ rigs check a lot of boxes for us in our current stage of life - at least on paper. But we know how this works and that there are unknowns we're not aware of, including downsides we haven't thought of.

So any advice from those who've made this jump would be much appreciated. We would primarily use this new RV for weekend getaways, summer trips and probably cross-country trips to see family during the holidays, etc. So we'd want to be able to still carry 5 belted people, including the driver, but don't need sleeping room for 5.

Right now we're leaning toward a B, as we could park in at our house without violating HOA rules. A B+ or anything that looks RV-like we'd have to store offsite. Not a deal-breaker and the extra room of a B+ looks very appealing.

Anyway, any thoughts or advice from those who've made this transition would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

-Andy
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:51 PM   #2
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A class B van, or a small class C without the cabover bunk, aren't really made for a family of 5. Particularly the class B vans. You might find one with 4 seats with belts and maybe a belted position in the rear on the bed, but they aren't typically belted/legal for more than 2 or 3 people. The small C without the cabover, might have belted forward facing seating positions in the dinette, but few come with more than 2 seats in the cab area. Total, maybe 4 legally. 5 people could potentially weigh more than the motorhome's available OCCC in some of the shorter class C options, so be aware of that before you buy.
Others might know of some exceptions, so be patient.
You might be able to find something on this website that will work for you.
https://www.rvingplanet.com/rvs
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Old 10-11-2021, 09:35 AM   #3
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If one goal is to park the RV in your driveway without upsetting your HOA, be sure to read your covenants and restrictions very carefully and in great detail. Most HOA's hate camper vans like poison and will work very hard to try and find a way to force you to store it either out of sight in your garage (yeah, like that 10' van is gonna fit in there), or offsite as you do now with your Class A.

Oh, and if you live in an un-gated HOA community like we do, check the city / county parking ordinances to see how long you could park a Class B van in the street before they want to start ticketing it. County ordinances are usually a bit more lenient than HOA covenants and restrictions, so that can be a fun and interesting angle to pursue in this particular situation. We have successfully used this to force our HOA to leave us alone as long as we park our van in the driveway without blocking the sidewalk, for up to 72 hours. This is because the county would allow us the same in the street where we could be parking it in front of a neighbors house, legally, for that length of time. We notify the HOA when we park in the driveway, before any of our neighbors can complain, so that if they do so the management firm is already aware. That way, instead of harassing us, the HOA tells the neighbors to calm down unless they want the van parked on the street, right in front of their house, for up to 72 hours as the county allows.
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rocinante440 View Post
If one goal is to park the RV in your driveway without upsetting your HOA, be sure to read your covenants and restrictions very carefully and in great detail. Most HOA's hate camper vans like poison and will work very hard to try and find a way to force you to store it either out of sight in your garage (yeah, like that 10' van is gonna fit in there), or offsite as you do now with your Class A.

Oh, and if you live in an un-gated HOA community like we do, check the city / county parking ordinances to see how long you could park a Class B van in the street before they want to start ticketing it. County ordinances are usually a bit more lenient than HOA covenants and restrictions, so that can be a fun and interesting angle to pursue in this particular situation. We have successfully used this to force our HOA to leave us alone as long as we park our van in the driveway without blocking the sidewalk, for up to 72 hours. This is because the county would allow us the same in the street where we could be parking it in front of a neighbors house, legally, for that length of time. We notify the HOA when we park in the driveway, before any of our neighbors can complain, so that if they do so the management firm is already aware. That way, instead of harassing us, the HOA tells the neighbors to calm down unless they want the van parked on the street, right in front of their house, for up to 72 hours as the county allows.
Proactive harassment deterrent? Charming.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:22 PM   #5
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Proactive harassment deterrent? Charming.
One does what one must, when one lives in an HOA full of haters.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:31 PM   #6
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One does what one must, when one lives in an HOA full of haters.
I hear 'ya. Good answer, applicable on a broader basis for a world rife with haters of all shapes, sizes, causes, and motivations.
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Old 10-11-2021, 08:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rocinante440 View Post
. . . We have successfully used this to force our HOA to leave us alone as long as we park our van in the driveway without blocking the sidewalk, for up to 72 hours. This is because the county would allow us the same in the street where we could be parking it in front of a neighbors house, legally, for that length of time. We notify the HOA when we park in the driveway, before any of our neighbors can complain, so that if they do so the management firm is already aware. That way, instead of harassing us, the HOA tells the neighbors to calm down unless they want the van parked on the street, right in front of their house, for up to 72 hours as the county allows.
That is a great strategy to deal with HOA neighbors. Where I live you can park on streets without limits. I now park in my driveway in alley and have for years without complaints. But if a new neighbor does complain Iíll use your strategy.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:34 AM   #8
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That is a great strategy to deal with HOA neighbors. Where I live you can park on streets without limits. I now park in my driveway in alley and have for years without complaints. But if a new neighbor does complain I’ll use your strategy.
Thanks. Yeah, it helps, though we still have to store the RV offsite because of our county's 72-hour limit. You win some, you lose some, but at least we have a better balance we can live with and the HOA generally leaves us alone anymore.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:33 AM   #9
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I did downsize from a 45ft. four slide coach, 1.5 baths, to a Class-B.

I honestly can't imagine 5 people in a Class-B or even a Class-B+ for any type of camping. Hopefully, it would not be a rainy weekend.

A Class-B is perfect for one or two people. I have a sofa in the rear with two seat belts and of course two seats up front with seat belts (Driver and Passenger).

Just my opinion, wait on downsizing until the kiddo's are not traveling with you. A small space gets extra small real fast with extra people.

After 15 yrs. of 'Class-A' coach traveling, I'm looking forward to the smaller 'out-of-the-way' sites that I could never fit in before....... Key West comes to mind.

Safe travels,
Mark
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:42 PM   #10
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Thanks for the answers!

Just to clarify, we wouldn't be sleeping 5 in the class B, we'd be sleeping 2 or three. But we would like 5 belted positions so that everyone can ride in the vehicle.

For our HOA, a class B is allowed to park in the driveway since most look like vans. Vehicles that look like RV's (Class B+, C, A, trailers, etc.) are not allowed.

If we can save the $80/month it costs for storage in our area by going with a Class B, that would be great, especially if it could be used as a secondary vehicle. But I'm not sure the sacrifice in terms of size is worth it, so we're also looking at a B+ or small class C.

Cheers,

Andy
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Old 10-14-2021, 01:09 PM   #11
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Thanks for the answers!

Just to clarify, we wouldn't be sleeping 5 in the class B, we'd be sleeping 2 or three. But we would like 5 belted positions so that everyone can ride in the vehicle.

For our HOA, a class B is allowed to park in the driveway since most look like vans. Vehicles that look like RV's (Class B+, C, A, trailers, etc.) are not allowed.

If we can save the $80/month it costs for storage in our area by going with a Class B, that would be great, especially if it could be used as a secondary vehicle. But I'm not sure the sacrifice in terms of size is worth it, so we're also looking at a B+ or small class C.

Cheers,

Andy
A "B+" is a small C. There are no vehicle registrations or insurance classifications for a "B+" because they don't legally exist. It's either an A, a B, or a C.
That said, there are probably only a few Bs that might have 3 belts across the (rear) bed, if it's one of those power reclining benches, that turn into a bed. That plus the 2 cab seats, and you might find your 5 seater. The sleeping options in some of the older (2000-2006?) floorplans had them. GWV, and I think Roadtrek, probably PleasureWay, and LTV as well. My 2002 Roadtrek 190Popular had 3 seats up front, all belted and 2 belts in the rear at the bed, but I'm not sure if they were considered legal. It was a rear, split twin/queen sleeping arrangement, and we never used the belts for/as seating positions.
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Old 10-14-2021, 04:53 PM   #12
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As others have posted, 5 in a Class B will not be comfortable for anything - driving, sitting, camping, whatever. The compromises you would need to make to get 5 legal seats in the van would make it MUCH less practical for you and your spouse to use it for camping. There is really zero synergy between your two use cases of seating 5 people for travel and having a camper van - those two things pull the vehicle configuration in opposite directions.
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Old 10-21-2021, 10:02 AM   #13
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If you are looking for a ready built unit to seat 5 belted, you may be out of luck. If you're interested in having something custom built, the sky's the limit. Start with the longest wheelbase tallest Sprinter, transit, promaster. Add a bench seat behind the cockpit and build or have built the amenities you desire. There are numerous builders throughout the country that will build to your liking. You might end up with a better quality unit.
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Old 10-21-2021, 03:52 PM   #14
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If you are looking for a ready built unit to seat 5 belted, you may be out of luck.
My Galleria has belted seating for six, including the rear bench/bed, but those three in the back don't have shoulder harnesses. The Winnibago Era 70B has shoulder harnesses at the two ends of the couch, but I don't know if the second row seat has a shoulder harness like mine does.

You might be right in that there are no production units with belted seating with shoulder harnesses for five.
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