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Author Topic: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.  (Read 1226 times)

Xmen1313

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My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« on: August 01, 2017, 10:13:57 PM »
So, my family and I have been researching class A and C RV's over the past several weeks.  We have an idea as to what we want, but are struggling with making a firm decision.  Family basics...early 40s couple with a teen son and 20yr old daughter.
Our thoughts/preferences:
1)class C-I'm comfortable driving almost anything (Class A CDL) my wife not so much, she definitely prefers the more van like class C.
2)We intend to do longer trips in the unit we choose, not just weeks/weekends at the lake (although those will happen as well).
3)The majority of our RV use will be 3 or fewer people, but we've discussed a couple of longer excursions with 4-6 people. Yellowstone/Grand Teton being one of those excursions.
4)Must haves for us-bed/bedroom separate from the rest of the unit and a shower that's not standalone in the hallway (We don't understand the concept of just putting the shower right there in the center of the unit where the whole thing has to be closed off to shower??? We must be able to tow a vehicle (planning on using a dolly, currently). And we need enough payload for 5 people, the towed vehicle, water, clothes, etc.

I'm sure there are other items, but that's for another day. I'd love input on RV's, what you like, don't like, what you learned you really didn't need, etc.
Units we're interested in (within our price range):
Thor four winds or Chateau 28z
Thor Freedom Elite 29FE
Freelander 29ks
Coachmen Pursuit 31SB (class A)
Forest River FR3 29DS (class A)

Thanks, blast away with thoughts, remarks, suggestions!

Malibu39

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 11:13:47 PM »
Having owned several class C and class A RVs (and I have a wife), I certainly have an opinion on the matter.  I am also the same age for what its worth. I would highly recommend a Class A. Class C's are are more enticing because they are less intimidating, but once you drive a class A a couple times, you are a pro. The biggest benefit of a class A over a class C is the usable space.  In a class A, the driver and passenger seats are the primo seats in the coach when you are camping.  Class C's, the space is useless.

Back to driving a Class A. Class C's and Class A's are pretty close to the same size (height and width), but with a class A you have TON better visibility. You will get used to it within a couple hours of driving it and like it much more.  So the long trips are more enjoyable because you are looking out a moving screen instead of a van window covered by the overhang.

My last suggestion would be to go with a diesel class A.  Having owned all the RVs, the driveablilty is insanely better with a diesel pusher over any gas engine. Here is the deal, people are intimated by these RVs, so you can get a smoking deal with an older diesel pusher. I've owned a brand new 33' gas class A and now own a 15 year old 40' diesel pusher.  The diesel pusher is 10 times the coach of the gasser.  Much better to driver. No noise, no rattling, no heat from the engine.  Like driving a Cadillac compared to a beat up Honda.
2004 Itasca Horizon 40KD 350 Cummins, 60,000 miles

OutdoorFT

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 12:28:58 AM »
for that many people, Class A. Even then, it might be a bit tight on rainy days. But since youre a family, itd be better than 2 seperate families. Idd look into one with 2 bathrooms. Perhaps a slide or two to enhance the living space
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
No RV yet!!

kdbgoat

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 06:43:35 AM »
In a class A, the driver and passenger seats are the primo seats in the coach when you are camping.  Class C's, the space is useless.

That's no longer a true statement, here's some pics:

https://www.google.com/search?q=class+c+rv+with+swivel+front+seats&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiun9eyu7jVAhVCPCYKHQc5CPsQ_AUICygC&biw=1280&bih=930

Swivel front seats was an option on mine, but unfortunately, mine doesn't have that option.

I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

JoelP

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 07:28:12 AM »
Having owned a Class C and now a Class A, I strongly prefer driving the Class A.  I opted to buy a higher end gas version which I upgraded for torque with a Banks system.  I chose a newer gas over a diesel primarily because I assessed the diesel maintenances costs to be higher.  I have read about some rather expensive repairs to DPs on this forum.  That said, DPs are generally better equipped and the noise is well behind you, and I understand these have an air suspension.  The thing I miss the most from not having diesel is that I often have to choose more confined locations to refuel rather than the spaces used by 18-wheelers at the Pilots and other truck stops.  Perhaps this would be less of an issue since you seem to be going for a RV of less than 30ft.
Joel from San Jose

2010 Itasca Suncruiser 37F
8.1L Chevy Workhorse with Banks PowerPack
2016 CMax Energi Hybrid dinghy

KandT

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 07:58:50 AM »
Please check to make sure the chassis has enough spare weight allowance over the vehicle itself to pack plenty and don't forget 6 people weigh a descent amount by themselves (no this isn't a comment about anyone's weight just add up the 6 people you want to take and even at 150 pounds/person you are at 900 pounds.). Manufacturers frequently push the limits of the chassis to make it as big as possible on the cheapest chassis.  This allows you very little weight to fill the water with at least flushing water and gear and people.

We have to pack lightly with the 31 foot e450.  My next RV will have plenty of gross vehicle weight over top of its own weight.
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 09:33:49 AM »
The weight scenario is one of the biggest reasons I ended up asking questions. The overall space isn't near the issue to me as the cargo capacity. 800 lbs of people, 375 ish in water and 300-500 on a hitch doesn't leave much for clothes, food, etc on many of the class Cs.

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 09:35:28 AM »
Appreciate the input so far. Thanks!

kdbgoat

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 10:19:23 AM »
The weight scenario is one of the biggest reasons I ended up asking questions. The overall space isn't near the issue to me as the cargo capacity. 800 lbs of people, 375 ish in water and 300-500 on a hitch doesn't leave much for clothes, food, etc on many of the class Cs.

And as I pointed out, it doesn't in some A's either.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Charlie 5320

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 11:08:38 AM »
Many manufactures are stuck with the same chassis when we're talking gas coachs. For instance my 34ft Dolphin is built on the same chassis as the 37 ft was in 03. The largest gas chassis was 22,000 back then, so all manufactures built their coachs on that chassis. The larger coachs didn't have as much load carrying capacity as the smaller version did. I'm loaded like I travel and still have about 2500 lbs left with full water and fuel tanks. I don't full time it so I'm sure I'm not loaded like a full timer would be. Pay close attention to the load carrying capacity before you buy, not after.   
2003 National Dolphin 5320
496  8.1  Workhorse

98 Damon Daybreak 3130
GM Vortech 454  4L80E
SOLD

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 01:00:43 PM »
This is the layout we tend to prefer, although it's not a must.  One of my problems has been determining the available cargo capacity as it's rarely listed online.  The typical listing details the GVWR and the GCWR, but doesn't tell you the actual dry weight of the vehicle.  Is there a norm? I've seen a few that show the CCC, but that seems to be rare.  I looked at a 32' bunkhouse last week that had a Cargo capacity of 1700lbs.  Why bother? At 1700lbs, you can't carry more than 2 people and possibly a change of clothes!

gravesdiesel

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 01:10:13 PM »
Definitely go diesel!  The diesel engines in the "pusher" type are true commercial engines, like in fleet trucks.  The gas burner engines are pickup truck engines.  You will get better fuel economy, lower maintenance cost and much more longevity out of a diesel engine.  You will also get more pulling torque with a diesel.
2016 KZ Spree 262 RKS
2003 Dodge 3500 4 door flatbed 4x4 diesel, 6 speed
1996 Dodge 3500 extra cab flatbed 4x4 diesel 5 speed
2006 Arctic Cat TRV diesel 4x4 ATV
(2) 1981 Yamaha G1 2 cycle golf carts
Many other diesels on the farm!

Isaac-1

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 01:49:11 PM »
One thing to remember is be careful when you look at those cargo carrying capacity numbers, particularly if shopping in the used market.      A 8-9  years back the measurement system changed, previously we had CCC which was an industry defined term, now we have see http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=26115.0       There are a number of differences, such as CCC was capacity left with full water and propane tanks, and an allotment of 150 pounds per seat with seatbelt for passenger weight, the new OCCC number assumes empty water tank, and no passengers.

I can see arguments both ways, the good thing about the new system is it means the RV manufacturers are not tempted to skimp on water tank capacity to inflate their cargo capacity, on the other hand water weighs a lot and who travels with an empty water tank.

As to the A vs C, my vote is A, and for 3-4 people to be comfortable you likely want something bigger than any of your examples, and this is coming from someone that likes small clas A's and has a 28 ft 2002 Safari Trek 2830 class A.   If the kids were small, maybe, but teens and 20's no way, just go to a rv dealer spend 15-20 minutes in one, and ask yourself how you would do on a rainy day in a  campground..
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 02:36:10 PM »
   If the kids were small, maybe, but teens and 20's no way, just go to a rv dealer spend 15-20 minutes in one, and ask yourself how you would do on a rainy day in a  campground..

I struggle spending 15 minutes in a house with the 15 yr old!! Part of the reason to look at RV's, no way I could do an 8-10 hr drive with him and his sister in a car, I'd end up walking just to stay sane.  The older child will be going to Japan in a year or so and will be away.  Afterwards, the majority of use will be just 2 or 3 of us.  The wife and I are troopers too...we'll sleep in the car at the beach and have done so a couple of times.  I do intend to do a rental weekend in the future, before signing expensive paper work. I know I can handle the cramped conditions as I drove OTR for awhile, but I do want to see how it works with multiple personalities...yes the wife is a Gemini!  ;D

Charlie 5320

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 09:43:44 PM »
What's that supposed to mean? There is nothing wrong with a Gemini, easy to get along with, we just want everything OUR WAY. ;D ;D
2003 National Dolphin 5320
496  8.1  Workhorse

98 Damon Daybreak 3130
GM Vortech 454  4L80E
SOLD

Isaac-1

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2017, 11:21:55 PM »
If you do a rental try to pick one as close to what you think you want as possible.  For example if you know you already hate the idea of a wet bath (shower with a toilet in it), then don't consider renting an RV with a wet bath.  You also find that there are features that you thought you would like that you dislike, features you thought were important that you find you don't even notice, and things you never thought to think about.

Let me give you an example, I don't like dinettes, sure they serve a purpose, and that purpose is having another sleeping location.   Beyond that they are a pain to convert from sleeping location to table, take up more floor space when not in use than most table and chair combos (chairs can be pushed under the table to free floor space), they don't provide comfortable seating, and most are too cramped for comfort with more than 2 people sitting at the table at once.  A 2 top table with a leaf and a pair of extra  folding chairs that convert it to a 4 top is much more practical if you don't have to have that added sleeping position.

Another thing to keep in mind is that all RV layouts are compromises, see your above mentioned mid bath with shower.  This allows for the bathroom floor space (usually outside the WC) to double as access hallway and give you a bigger bathroom for a give coach length.  The key here is to pick the compromise that you can live with, for us that meant giving up having a separate bedroom in exchange for getting a huge bathroom and kitchen by any RV standards in a sub 30 ft coach (2002 Safari Trek 2830), and having only a queen size loft bed that drops down from the living room ceiling, along with a sofa position below which provides a sort of  L bunk bed stack arrangement.   As I said it is a compromise, but point me to another sub 30 ft motorhome with a 6x6 ft wall to wall space in the bathroom and nearly 7 ft of total kitchen counter top.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Pugapooh

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2017, 03:22:49 AM »
Is the teenager going to be ready to get up when you do?  Ok wth no sense of privacy?  Make sure you fold out/set up any beds and lay on them.  You will spend a lot of time sleeping in this and not so much driving/parking. Just my thoughts.
2006 Dutchmen Denali 29 RL fiver
2006 Dodge 2500 Big Horn
2001 GMC Sierra 3500
1996 Dodge Ram 1500

DearMissMermaid

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2017, 06:09:47 AM »
  In a class A, the driver and passenger seats are the primo seats in the coach when you are camping.  Class C's, the space is useless.

So the long trips are more enjoyable because you are looking out a moving screen instead of a van window covered by the overhang.

I guess it depends on what Class C you have. Mine has the swivel front seats that face the living area when parked.

My windshield is not covered up by the overhang. It's there but it doesn't cover anything up. I have terrific visibility.

Look into Class A driving lessons. No use having other licensed drivers on board if they refuse to  drive. Take lessons. Well worth it. Easier to get places without the fatigue if you can share the driving.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

joester

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2017, 03:09:54 PM »
We are currently a class C family  - having owned and love our 1991 Tioga class C since 1997 - still runs great and everything works.
We looked for nearly all of 1997 before we found this rv, and are glad we looked as long and at as many rv's as we did - there are a LOT of models and floorplans.
I've read a lot of posts here about shopping for an rv, and the common thread is usually about finding a floorplan that you like. Figure 90% or more of your time is spent
parked and set up for overnight. Beds that need to be made, such as dinettes, sofa beds (either jackknife or sleeper types), and drop down bunks, all need to be made each night, and then unmade each morning before travel, or just to open up floorspace for seating, eating and relaxing. Slides certainly will help with floorspace, especially in the living area. I'm personally torn between an older used class A DP (early 2000's to about 2007), and a newer class A gasser (say 2012-2014). Many thoughts as to the quality of the older higher end DP's - they sure are nice, but yes, the maintenance costs are higher. Generally, it seems to be agreed that if you plan to own it for a number of years, and plan to drive many miles, a DP is the way to go. Less miles that you travel, and maybe a gasser is your best fit. I really like the floorplan of the Winnebago Vista 30T model, but am still looking for other models with a similar floorplan. Keep looking, and find a floorplan you like - best place to start, the mechanics and brand maybe not so important - but when buying used, have condition and maintenance records as key areas to look at. Use is fine - abuse or neglect is troublesome. Set a budget and understand you will spend some money to make it suit your specific needs (satellite tv, tow bars, braking systems,etc)
Good luck and let us know what you find!
tener corazón de oro

1991 Tioga class C

johnaye

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2017, 07:47:37 PM »
It sounds like you have not had a motor home before.  If so, consider renting one if you can.  I think most rentals are Class C so you can see if a C is right for you.  We have owned both Cs and As over the years.  We definitely prefer our current DP class A.
John and Becky
2004 Alfa See Ya DP
2008 Honda CRV

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2017, 09:53:58 PM »
Nope, never had my own RV.  Grew up in a family with travel trailers and spent a month in a small class A, but that's about it.  I've considered the travel trailer/fifth wheel side too, but just not really what I want.  For years we've taken short trips to the beach (we live in central GA) on a regular basis and done the hotel thing, but we're wanting to start spending some time wandering around other parts of this beautiful country.

Absolutely appreciate the replies from everyone...Most seem to direct towards the class A's, which I personally think is a better option for me, just don't know that the wife will attempt to drive it....I would love the diesel as they are definitely better suited for the type of travel we're interested in, but all those numbers next to that $ sign in the ads is tough to comprehend sometimes.  :(

For those of you in smaller RV's, how does it treat you on longer road trips?  Any issues when towing larger vehicles?  How well does it deal on steep grades, I've white knuckled Donner Pass and Cabbage Hill with a jake, not sure I want that experience in an RV with the family in tow.

rls7201

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2017, 10:55:42 PM »
The attachment of the coach you are looking at doesn't seem to have a lot of hanging space for your clothes.
We find a large, full length closet, mandatory. er ah, at least she does. :-[
And BTW you get the closet on the passengers side.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 10:57:19 PM by rls7201 »
Richard  & Michele Shields
& Eg the Bounder Cat
Gladstone, MO
95 Bounder 32H F53
460/528 stroker

debsmg

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2017, 12:06:10 AM »
I am a female with a class C.  I am currently in Alaska and have not had any problems towing my Honda fit with my ford E 450 up and down passes. I do not find it hard to drive and being a Ford it is easy to find places to service it. I am in a caravan and the only c all the rest are A's. Some wives will drive, many won't. I am totally happy with my C. You and your family are the only ones that can decide what is right for you. I say look at both A's And C's. There are driving classes as well. I took one even though I am driving a shorter C. Found it gave me a lot more confidence with backing up and maneuvering.
Deb who is Hoooman servant to 2 cats
Kitcat and Spice and
Red Standard Poodle named Lucy

2016 Winnebago Aspect 27K
2013 Honda Fit toad

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2017, 05:13:08 AM »
The attachment of the coach you are looking at doesn't seem to have a lot of hanging space for your clothes.
We find a large, full length closet, mandatory. er ah, at least she does. :-[
And BTW you get the closet on the passengers side.

I don't get to use the closet at home...Its her turn to see how the other half lives.  ;D

kudzu

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2017, 05:39:27 AM »
I don't get to use the closet at home...Its her turn to see how the other half lives.  ;D

Yeah, let us know how that plans turns out!
Me a stranger? Nah, just a friend you haven't met.

ducnut

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2017, 01:28:10 PM »
I'd add the Thor ACE lineup in your search. I strongly cross-shopped it before my class C purchase. Also, look at the Four Winds 31W (my 24F is like a shortened version of that).

Your class A options are likely to be on a Ford F53 chassis. That gets you a V10/3-valve engine (more HP and TQ), heavier chassis, larger brakes, 19.5" commercial tires, just an overall more robust chassis. I believe in going with a smaller coach on a heavier chassis versus a larger coach on a lighter chassis (class C options you're considering). Keep your speed in check and your fuel mileage should be similar. For 3+ people, I can't see doing anything but a class A.

As others mentioned, go to dealerships and spend time in anything you're considering. I shopped the dealerships, before shopping so much the coach. I found a good dealership match at the 4th place I visited. From there, I got more serious about the coach.

I went Class C, because I drive OTR, now. I didn't want to feel like I was still working, with driving the width/size of a class A. Also, I wanted something I could park about anywhere. I'm by myself, so my interior needs are drastically different than yours. However, I could comfortably live with another in what I have. Given the whole left side of my coach slides out, really opens up things. When you go shopping again, you need to make sure you explore what the coach will be like to live in, with all the slides in. That'll make a huge difference with livability, going down the road or temporarily stopped.

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2017, 06:13:55 PM »
I'd add the Thor ACE lineup in your search. I strongly cross-shopped it before my class C purchase. Also, look at the Four Winds 31W (my 24F is like a shortened version of that).

Thanks.  I have looked at the ACE as well as the Vegas. Overall, I'm really starting to lean more towards the Forest River FR3 29DS  at least as far as the floorplan and visual aestethics.  Not to mention, I understand everyone's point on the view from the class A...I loved the height and the view in the Pete yrs ago.  So much easier to see what's going on around you when you're above the masses.

Since yours is a Class C, although smaller, how does it handle the steep downgrade?  Do you use a lower gear (a little more tedious in the automatic) or just treat it more like a car.  My intention is to head out west next Summer (so much beautiful country to see) as my family has never been out of the southeast and I want to know if I'm going to need to pray before I start one of those multi mile descents.

ducnut

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2017, 07:20:53 PM »
Since yours is a Class C, although smaller, how does it handle the steep downgrade?  Do you use a lower gear (a little more tedious in the automatic) or just treat it more like a car.  My intention is to head out west next Summer (so much beautiful country to see) as my family has never been out of the southeast and I want to know if I'm going to need to pray before I start one of those multi mile descents.

I don't know what type of engine braking strategy Ford has in the V10, but, I can definitely feel something change with the resistance against the driveline. I run 57mph on cruise. When I descend a hill, at first there isn't much going on. However, as speed increases, something changes, somewhere. The RPM doesn't increase, like a downshift, though. So, I don't exactly know what.

As for long descents, I have zero reservations. I routinely run I-40/I-5/I-80, in a semi, and know your concerns. The RVers I usually see having issues are older stuff, pulling too much or probably not properly maintained. As you know, starting at a slow speed, with the trans dropped a gear or two, and just taking it easy is the way. If your towed vehicle is something light, you shouldn't have much issue. However, if your towed vehicle is heavy like a full-size pickup, you'd need to consider something heavier built. There's only so much brake rotor that'll fit inside a 16" wheel and only so much radiator will fit behind a van grille.

Make sure the tow dolly you purchase has its own brake system.

All those remote roads criss-crossing the desert are another reason I wanted something smaller. Granted, it's no overland vehicle like a Tiger Coach, it'll still get me as far as I realistically need to be going.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 06:51:58 AM by ducnut »

Xmen1313

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2017, 09:12:32 PM »
Great info, thanks.

johnaye

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Re: My first RV...looking for input, thoughts, suggestions.
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2017, 07:14:22 PM »
The Forest River looks nice.  I strongly recommend the generator option.  Dash air will not keep the coach comfortable in hot weather.  Using the generator to run the roof air while going down the road makes life a lot better.  This is the voice of experience speaking.  A couple of years ago we were in the South in the Summer with a bad generator.  No ac made the trip miserable.

John and Becky
2004 Alfa See Ya DP
2008 Honda CRV

 

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