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Old 11-11-2014, 01:21 PM   #1
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Your opinion wanted: Soon to be 1st time, Full time RV ers

Hello all. We are soon to be full timers for at least one year. Much of our time will be spent dry camping in nature. We have done a lot of research. It is important to us that unit we purchase have quality components in the areas of plumbing, electrical, etc. We will be alone much of the time and do not want critical systems to break down or be inferior.
We like the Itasca Reyo and Navion models. We are just now considering a longer unit and are considering the following:
Itasca Sunstar 31KE
Winnebago Vista 31KE
Thor ACE 30.1
The Thor is our favorite floor plan and size. With that said, we know the Thor has the least quality house and are ok with that due to the lower price and a bit better floor plan. We are willing to accept the issues of cheap workmanship and materials, which will break along the way.
In your opinions, which manufacturer has the best quality critical systems. We are also open to other manufactures with floor plans that have a dinette and couch side by side with a bedroom in the back and an overhead bunk over the cockpit area.
Thank you in advance for all your help!
G Man
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:12 PM   #2
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We also went through the confusion of what to buy that fits our needs. Absolutely loved our Navion 24g Sprinter for three years. But now have decided we wanted more comforts for longer trips. Being a nature lover, I wasn't too happy about the trade offs for worse gas milage, generator dependent rv's. and giving up the ease of driving the little diesel.

You first need to decide how much time you will be spending inside the rv, for instanc a person who doesn't care about Tv and would rather be hiking than sitting inside all day. This is where the size of the rv matters. How much comfort do you want? Are you young? Can you handle not having the comforts of home? Can you handle poor gas milage? Would you sacrifice gas milage for one of the larger ones?

We will miss our Navion, thinking if it was just two feet larger all around it would be perfect. It's great for a week or two. Dry camping for a week at a time with no generator use. Great little buggy!

Having said that, it appears to us that 31 ft. Is perfect for us, along with an L couch and comfortable bed. Unfortunately they don't make diesels that size, so we went to a 34ft. Pusher. Add up your needs, and it may give you insight into what is best for you at this point. Have fun, and remember, whatever you decide you will have a blast!
Dances with wolves
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

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Old 12-03-2014, 09:57 PM   #4
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G Man did you already buy? We looked at the 30.1 before purchasing our 31KE. Deal breakers for the 30.1 were the tank sizes, exterior storage capacity and the kitchen sink. These are critical factors as, like you, we planned to live in the unit full time. We have already been in the unit for 6 months now. The 30.1 does have the advantage of the bedroom slide and a few other minor touches. We preferred the TV placement in the 31KE and the shower door. One last point was that the drivers seat in the 30.1 wouldn't rotate more than about 45 degrees.
2004 Phoenix Cruiser 2551
2014 Winnebago Vista 31KE
Toad 2013 Sonic Turbo LT AT
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:02 AM   #5
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emcee, hello. in fact, today December 4th, we are looking at a Hurricane 32A that is a great buy and we most likely will be buying it and driving it back to Chicago tomorrow!
We too looked at the 31KE and liked it but like the 32A, which they don't make anymore, better.
the 32A is 33 ft long, a bit much and we hope to squeeze into national parks :-).
Are you full time in your KE and if so, how is it going for the last six months?
How many people? There will be just two of us. Any tips, ha ha's, pointers, thoughts you care to share?
Thanks and be safe!
G Man
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:04 AM   #6
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We've been in the 31KE for about 4 months. We've been from Maine to Arizona (we're there now) and over 4000 miles. Just my wife and I and our cat. We also enjoy National and State parks. At 31' we just fit into Mather campground at the grand canyon. We've also stayed in relatives driveways for up to 2 weeks at a time. We knew before we got this coach that we needed a smaller coach with larger water tanks to allow us to stay for up to 2 weeks without dumping and filling. We have made numerous modifications to make the coach our own and to facilitate our style (see my post for the list) and I would encourage that. We started out driving too much but we were trying to get to the Grand Canyon before the cold weather did. That experience showed us that it really is more enjoyable when you slow down and even stop to smell the roses. Tips: when the sign says no trucks this means you, don't trust anyone guiding you - get out and look, weigh your rig and set the tire pressures accordingly, do the cheap handling fix and lastly - the only way to improve mpg is to slow down.

Good luck and happy trails
2004 Phoenix Cruiser 2551
2014 Winnebago Vista 31KE
Toad 2013 Sonic Turbo LT AT
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:24 AM   #7
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I would go with the best RV that offers a floor plan you like, For example after 30 years in a single bath house.. The bath and a half on the rig I'm sitting in right now was the selling point... And glad of it I often was too.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:01 PM   #8
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If you're going to full time the most important thing is your tank capacities defined as the bigger the rig the bigger the tanks so go with the biggest rig that fits your needs
Mike 06 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:17 PM   #9
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"It is important to us that unit we purchase have quality components in the areas of plumbing, electrical, etc. We will be alone much of the time and do not want critical systems to break down or be inferior."

My way of thinking is that you need to get to the point where you can evaluate that yourself. Certainly understand the desire to shortcut the learning process. But, I don't see how you can leave it to forum members to do that for you, and certainly not a dealer.

You might start by taking each one of the rigs you are looking at and asking the dealer, forum members, and the mfg if that particular rig is suitable for full-timing. I believe that you can find that information either in the rv or on the paperwork as well. Hopefully, people will explain how they arrived at their opinion.

If, for example, you look at the mirrors and they are ready to fall down with a bit of jiggling, you might want to consider that rig as suitable for weekend and two week trips.

If, for example, you look at the bedroom sliding door, if it has one, and when you slide it you think gee this is kind of weak and might conclude that after you open and close it a few times it will probably break...not really suitable for full-time.

You might inquire about the range in amounts of water you can carry. The smaller the amount, the less time the owner is expected to be spending in it during a trip and the shorter the expected trips.

Personally, I don't think anyone is better than me at evaluating what I need, but I have spent a long year studying rvs and I can tell you that when I look at an rv today my eyes see things very differently than a year ago and see a whole lot more.

I certainly didn't let anyone chose my wife for me.
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:19 PM   #10
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When you say the critical components are most important to you, the bottom line is they all use from a couple of component suppliers ie Dometic or Norcold ect. One of the biggest issues for you based on your line of thinking is to evaluate how the manufacturer puts it all together and engineers the MH to the chassis. That is most likely where things start to fail or break and is directly related to their quality and what the customer expects for the price point. When you say you will sacrafice quality for price, that is flawed thinking because you may spend more money or time fixing your MH than the actual cost difference to buy a quality MH to begin with.

It sounds like you are in a rush for some reason but I would suggest doing your research on the manufacturers as well as what you really need before buying that Hurricane. Also as mentioned earlier floorplan is critical, even more so when fulltiming. I wouldn't be without the bath and a half as it is really nice to have, both for functionality and in cases of emergency. Once you get over the fun of buying it and they all look pretty sitting on the lot, now you have to live in it, so make sure you buy something that you will still love when things go wrong, because they will from time to time. Good Luck
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:32 PM   #11
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Sage advice from Mike and Cha.

It has often been said to buy the last motohome first. Otherwise the cost to get something you enjoy may be excessive.
Gordon and Janet
Tour 42QD/InTech Stacker
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:37 AM   #12
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I gotta agree with Mike & Cha. You say you want quality, but then you say you are willing to accept cheap materials and workmanship in the Thor. Which is it?

The components in many RVs are identical, or at most slightly different models of the same components. It's the workmanship and how well they design & install those systems that makes much of the difference, and the rest is usually the materials used in flooring, upholstery, cabinetry, etc. You don't necessarily need a luxury class rig to get good quality, but one that is at least in the mid-range will be substantially better quality and longer lasting than the entry level models. Fulltimers use their rig every day, and are more than just inconvenienced when things malfunction. Entry level rigs are only intended for weekend and vacation use.

The MSRP price of an RV is an excellent indicator of the materials and care that went into building it. Yeah, higher end models may have some extra amenities and gadgets, but most of the extra cost went into materials and workmanship. Price competition in RVs is severe, so you need not fear that some brand is simply charging more than another; that simply doesn't happen.

The main quality issue in RVs is inconsistency. Even the top end brands produce lemons, probably because every one is hand built.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition and several other RVs
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:06 AM   #13
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If possible, go on the factory tour and see how that manufacturer chooses to design and build their product. Is it designed to facilitate maintenance? We have been on tours of several of the major manufacturers. One point that stands out with several of them is the impression that they are building a disposable product. For example, wiring simply sealed into walls instead of run through conduit or channels. Filters and other maintenance components positioned where they are difficult to get to. On one coach we saw a water pump under the sink that was designed for ease of installation at the factory. Then the outside wall was added. If you or a tech wanted to get to it, you would have to crawl and work under the sink.

What modifications will you want for your lifestyle? Additional solar panels and associated circuitry, additional batteries, etc. How easy will they be to install and wire?
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