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Old 03-04-2020, 05:48 AM   #1
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Who is full-time in a small C (View/Wayfarer/Isata)?

Considering full-timing in a View or Wayfarer. I know most full-timers go larger, but I think this fits our travel style better: state and national parks, boondocking and moochdocking visiting spread out kids and grandkids while sight-seeing all along the way. We value mobility over space and stuff. B's are too cramped, A's and fifth-wheels to big and bulky. A small C is Goldilocks for us. We have a few rental trips planned to try things out, and might go full-time next year.

So, I'd love to hear from people who are actually doing it.
  • What problems have you had?
  • How were things different than you expected?
  • How do you handle repairs on the road with limited tools?
  • Was downsizing easier or harder than you thought?
  • What do you wish you had done differently?
  • Is it small and maneuverable enough, and set-up and tear-down quick enough that you can get by without a tow-vehicle?

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:26 AM   #2
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The Sprinter based Class Cs are great for football games, weekend trips, and summer vacations. As a former fulltimer in a Class A, I would not be looking at a Sprinter based Class C for fulltiming. You have minimal storage space, minimal refrigerator space, minimal carrying capacity, and so on.

A small Class A or a larger Class C will fit in all the places you mention and still have better, more comfortable living arrangements. We loved our Navion for the 3-4 day rallies we attended and for the 2-3 month summer trips we took - but having fulltimed in a Class A, there is no way I would even try it.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by luvlabs View Post
The Sprinter based Class Cs are great for football games, weekend trips, and summer vacations. As a former fulltimer in a Class A, I would not be looking at a Sprinter based Class C for fulltiming. You have minimal storage space, minimal refrigerator space, minimal carrying capacity, and so on.

A small Class A or a larger Class C will fit in all the places you mention and still have better, more comfortable living arrangements. We loved our Navion for the 3-4 day rallies we attended and for the 2-3 month summer trips we took - but having fulltimed in a Class A, there is no way I would even try it.
Thank you, but I think that depends on personal preferences, travel style, need for space and how much stuff you have, how mobile you want to be, etc. People live full time in class B's, not for everyone, but it is done. So I'd love to hear from people who are pulling it off -- and if there are not many, that says something too.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:49 AM   #4
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Well to add to this. Camper one slot over from me has a VW class B towing a trailer with his Harley in it. 2 of them full time. They came over and we discussed our 32 ft class C. They liked the size and the fact I tow a car trailer. Food for thought.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:11 AM   #5
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Well to add to this. Camper one slot over from me has a VW class B towing a trailer with his Harley in it. 2 of them full time. They came over and we discussed our 32 ft class C. They liked the size and the fact I tow a car trailer. Food for thought.
Yup! There are all kinds out there. And it's fun to watch the YouTubers change their rigs. Some are upsizing while others are downsizing! The array of choices and lifestyles gets dizzying!
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:34 AM   #6
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I'd just like to throw this out there. I have several friends that are diesel mechanics, these guy work on everything from Cumming to Detroit to Fords and Chevy's, and everything in between.

They have informed me that the "independent" diesel mechanics can not, nor will they work on Sprinter diesels engines, because Mercedes has refused to share their computer systems with anyone else. Without the computer system/laptop stuff, they can't work on them. If someone brings a Sprinter in, they simply say "sorry, good luck, find a Mercedes dealer"

So if you purchase a Mercedes Sprinter diesel, the ONLY people that can work on it is a Mercedes dealer.

Generally, from what I am getting from the boys is, the Sprinter is a PITA to work on, but when they are working, they work great. When they crap-out, you have to find a Mercedes dealer to work on it. If you're in the middle of no-where, good luck.

Just thought I would put that out there in case you decide to go that route
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:35 AM   #7
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Check out the Thor Axis or Vegas.

25 to 27 foot class A style, on a E350/ E450 chassis.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:36 AM   #8
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Freightliner also works on them more so then an MB dealer.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jmac00 View Post
I'd just like to throw this out there. I have several friends that are diesel mechanics, these guy work on everything from Cumming to Detroit to Fords and Chevy's, and everything in between.



They have informed me that the "independent" diesel mechanics can not, nor will they work on Sprinter diesels engines, because Mercedes has refused to share their computer systems with anyone else. Without the computer system/laptop stuff, they can't work on them. If someone brings a Sprinter in, they simply say "sorry, good luck, find a Mercedes dealer"



So if you purchase a Mercedes Sprinter diesel, the ONLY people that can work on it is a Mercedes dealer.



Generally, from what I am getting from the boys is, the Sprinter is a PITA to work on, but when they are working, they work great. When they crap-out, you have to find a Mercedes dealer to work on it. If you're in the middle of no-where, good luck.



Just thought I would put that out there in case you decide to go that route
I am aware of this dilemma. Reliable, good mileage, great handling and maneuverability, long time between service intervals -- BUT -- when you do need service it is expense and harder to find. A major consideration for life on the road.

I do not like the drive, comfort, or noise of the Fords, however. And from my experience with an old van, any one can work on them, which is good because it is so often needed. Also a major consideration for life on the road.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Check out the Thor Axis or Vegas.

25 to 27 foot class A style, on a E350/ E450 chassis.
I looked at those. Didn't feel like I'd get much more space or better drivability, and I'm concerned about the reputation of Thor. Also not a fan of Ford, but my experiences may me out of date. I guess once you've had a bad experience with a company it's hard to go back. I'd rather have my bad experiences with a new company.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by shassel View Post
Considering full-timing in a View or Wayfarer. I know most full-timers go larger, but I think this fits our travel style better: state and national parks, boondocking and moochdocking visiting spread out kids and grandkids while sight-seeing all along the way. We value mobility over space and stuff. B's are too cramped, A's and fifth-wheels to big and bulky. A small C is Goldilocks for us. We have a few rental trips planned to try things out, and might go full-time next year.

So, I'd love to hear from people who are actually doing it.
  • What problems have you had?
  • How were things different than you expected?
  • How do you handle repairs on the road with limited tools?
  • Was downsizing easier or harder than you thought?
  • What do you wish you had done differently?
  • Is it small and maneuverable enough, and set-up and tear-down quick enough that you can get by without a tow-vehicle?

Thanks!
A small Class C does not have to be based on the Mercedes chassis.

In fact most of the Mercedes based Class C motorhomes do not have a full size overhead cab bed. Not being able to have this area for sleeping - or also an additional very large storage area - could be a big negative for full time living ... especially in a small (23 ft. -> 26 ft.) Class C.

If I were you I'd look for a Ford E350/E450 chassis based, or a Chevy 3500/4500 chassis based, small Class C with the classic full queen size bed area above the cab.

These two chassis types can be serviced all over the U.S. (and probably Canada), so chances of a serious chassis breakdown disruption are minimum.

You might also want a "basement type" Class C that provides several large outside storage cabinets that are tall enough to provide truly useful storage. This type coach design is available in 23 ft. -> 26 ft. Class C motorhomes, but you have to search for them.

We are not full-time RV'ers in any sense, with our longest trip being only 10 weeks. It's just myself, the DW, and a small dog in a 24 ft. Ford E450 based, 11'6" tall and 101" wide, Itasca (Winnebago) Class C.

It has loads of outside and inside storage space, two interior queen beds, a swiveling & sliding lounge chair, and a dinette that can also be made into a full size bed for occasional guest use.

We can fit into just about any camping spot in public parks, park it easily in store/mall parking lots, and even park along the curbs in the downtown areas of small towns.

However, here's some caveates relating to our particular choice and use of a small Class C:

- We are kindof private folks and as such are perfectly content camping with only the "nest area" that a small Class C provides. We like to read in the evenings or in uncomfortable weather when we want to stay inside.

- We wanted a small motorhome for great handling and maximum flexibility in where we could camp.

- We chose no slides for maximum coach strength and mechanical reliability in occasional off-highway travel situations.

- We wanted lots of storage to be able to carry somewhat unusual items for maximum flexibility in where and when we camp and for carrying along equipment backups.

- We wanted a Ford chassis for ease in getting maintenance and service.

- We wanted an E450 chassis (even though an E350 could carry the weight) for the overkill in construction that comes with a chassis designed for more weight than what we would be carrying.

- We needed two queen beds so the DW could use one for herself to be able to spread out on due to her bad back (I use the overhead queen cab bed), and we store stuff on the overhead cab bed when traveling.

- We wanted to be able to drycamp at will for several days, so we picked a model with large tanks for it's size ... even the propane tank - at 18 gallons- is generous for a 24 ft. Class C.

So ... stay with small if you possible can!
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Phil G. View Post
A small Class C does not have to be based on the Mercedes chassis.

In fact most of the Mercedes based Class C motorhomes do not have a full size overhead cab bed. Not being able to have this area for sleeping - or also an additional very large storage area - could be a big negative for full time living ... especially in a small (23 ft. -> 26 ft.) Class C.

If I were you I'd look for a Ford E350/E450 chassis based, or a Chevy 3500/4500 chassis based, small Class C with the classic full queen size bed area above the cab.

These two chassis types can be serviced all over the U.S. (and probably Canada), so chances of a serious chassis breakdown disruption are minimum.

You might also want a "basement type" Class C that provides several large outside storage cabinets that are tall enough to provide truly useful storage. This type coach design is available in 23 ft. -> 26 ft. Class C motorhomes, but you have to search for them.

We are not full-time RV'ers in any sense, with our longest trip being only 10 weeks. It's just myself, the DW, and a small dog in a 24 ft. Ford E450 based, 11'6" tall and 101" wide, Itasca (Winnebago) Class C.

It has loads of outside and inside storage space, two interior queen beds, a swiveling & sliding lounge chair, and a dinette that can also be made into a full size bed for occasional guest use.

We can fit into just about any camping spot in public parks, park it easily in store/mall parking lots, and even park along the curbs in the downtown areas of small towns.

However, here's some caveates relating to our particular choice and use of a small Class C:

- We are kindof private folks and as such are perfectly content camping with only the "nest area" that a small Class C provides. We like to read in the evenings or in uncomfortable weather when we want to stay inside.

- We wanted a small motorhome for great handling and maximum flexibility in where we could camp.

- We chose no slides for maximum coach strength and mechanical reliability in occasional off-highway travel situations.

- We wanted lots of storage to be able to carry somewhat unusual items for maximum flexibility in where and when we camp and for carrying along equipment backups.

- We wanted a Ford chassis for ease in getting maintenance and service.

- We wanted an E450 chassis (even though an E350 could carry the weight) for the overkill in construction that comes with a chassis designed for more weight than what we would be carrying.

- We needed two queen beds so the DW could use one for herself to be able to spread out on due to her bad back (I use the overhead queen cab bed), and we store stuff on the overhead cab bed when traveling.

- We wanted to be able to drycamp at will for several days, so we picked a model with large tanks for it's size ... even the propane tank - at 18 gallons- is generous for a 24 ft. Class C.

So ... stay with small if you possible can!
The View/Navion, Wayfarer, and Isata all have cab-over bunks, which we'd use more as an attic than sleeping. They all have queen beds, the View/Navion 24D and Wafarer 25FW are Murphy beds so more living area.

Lots of comments on the scarcity of repair facilities of the Sprinters. I still prefer them for comfort and driveability, however. I'll have to take a long look at the risks and trade-offs.

Some C's have a lot of "basement" storage, like the Wayfarer 24LW and Isata 3 24RW. But the sacrifice is less living area and interior storage. You can't pay Peter without robbing Paul.
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Old 03-04-2020, 03:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jmac00 View Post
I'd just like to throw this out there. I have several friends that are diesel mechanics, these guy work on everything from Cumming to Detroit to Fords and Chevy's, and everything in between.

They have informed me that the "independent" diesel mechanics can not, nor will they work on Sprinter diesels engines, because Mercedes has refused to share their computer systems with anyone else. Without the computer system/laptop stuff, they can't work on them. If someone brings a Sprinter in, they simply say "sorry, good luck, find a Mercedes dealer"

So if you purchase a Mercedes Sprinter diesel, the ONLY people that can work on it is a Mercedes dealer.

Generally, from what I am getting from the boys is, the Sprinter is a PITA to work on, but when they are working, they work great. When they crap-out, you have to find a Mercedes dealer to work on it. If you're in the middle of no-where, good luck.

Just thought I would put that out there in case you decide to go that route
We have an excellent independent shop here in San Diego that works on nothing else but Sprinters. It's called"Sprinter Pitstop". The owner,Tim, seems to know Sprinters very well and does have a laptop he brings aboard to check things with. I have no affiliation other than as a happy customer.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by shassel View Post
The View/Navion, Wayfarer, and Isata all have cab-over bunks, which we'd use more as an attic than sleeping. They all have queen beds, the View/Navion 24D and Wafarer 25FW are Murphy beds so more living area.

Lots of comments on the scarcity of repair facilities of the Sprinters. I still prefer them for comfort and driveability, however. I'll have to take a long look at the risks and trade-offs.

Some C's have a lot of "basement" storage, like the Wayfarer 24LW and Isata 3 24RW. But the sacrifice is less living area and interior storage. You can't pay Peter without robbing Paul.
What I described and recommend that you take a look at are the shorter versions of Class C motorhomes like these - especilly note that 22M's large tanks, great rear bed, and availability on the heavy duty E450 chassis:
https://www.winnebago.com/models/product/spirit
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