EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?  (Read 1457 times)

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« on: September 30, 2017, 12:35:26 PM »
Hi all,

We're 2 ladies in our fifties, soon retired. We've been dreaming about buying an RV when we retire.

The plan is to travel across America from November to April.

We spent 3 weeks in a rented VW Westfalia in California a few years ago and although we had fun, we discovered that it was way to small to our taste, contrary to what we expected.

No so long ago we went with friends for a weekend in their Winnebago View (23 feet I think). We loved it.
We began looking at 24 feet motorhomes.

The Leisure Vans Unity is our dream.
But at 150 000+$, that's out of reach. So we're looking for a used van.

Here in Quebec, Canada, we can find a used (8 years old or so) motorhome like a Winnebago View for 50k (USD).

On the other hand, for example (lets say that all other things being equal) a 15 years Winnebago Vista sells for 20k.

When I look at the difference in price tag, I can't help but think that you have to be really unlucky to have to spend 30k in repairs if we choose the older one.
Am I wrong?

Does it make sense to buy the cheaper one? My reasoning is that we'll be retired so we should not be in a hurry, If something goes wrong with the van, we settle in town for a few days until it's fixed.

Is that a bad idea? We're not mechanics and we know nothing (yet) about motorhomes.
Of course, especially for an older van, it would be mandatory to have it professionally inspected before buying.

I guess the older models are tougher on gas but with a price tag 30k lower, we could explore America quite a bit before "being under," right?

Something else.

Winnebagos are expensive.

Some RVs seem less expensive. I guess it has to do with the engine not being a Mercedes?

When buying used is it better to buy a Mercedes vs a Ford engine, even if it's a lot more expensive? Does it makes sense, money wise? Is it especially true if you buy a really old VR (like 15 years +)?

I was also concerned that it could be much more difficult to find spare parts for a Mercedes than for an american made engine in the middle of nowhere.

Sorry if this post seems confused. It's because we are!

Thanks for any tip.
Pascale


Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 674
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 01:18:22 PM »
Gas mileage hasn't changed much on RV's in 20-40 years with the exception that the Mercedes, when then came available do get much better mileage than the Ford V-10.   Expect 7-8.5 mpg on Fords.  Mercedes probably in the low to mid teens. 

Someone saying they get 10mph in a Ford and 18-19 in a Mercedes, be sure they are telling you the average gas mileage for a continuous stretch of 3000 to 5000 miles, adding all the gas the pumped in and dividing that into the total mileage.  It is easy to get great mileage for 1 or 2 tank fulls on level roads or interstate with no wind or a little tail wind and then for some reason the tank didn't completely fill because it was on a unlevel surface.

By the way, gas mileage is not a really big problem unless you are planning on driving 10,000 miles or more a year.  Think about your travel style, do you really want to drive all the time, only staying 1 or 2 nights before moving.  That is vacation mode and gets old really quick.

Most all RV on the Mercedes is more expensive than a Ford.  Consider the floor plan, more than the chassis. 

Think long about going with a 24' or smaller MH for 2 people.  It gets pretty crowded.  It is great for a vacation for 2-3 weeks, but 5-6 months is a different issue. 

Give some thought about towing a small car.  Needing to pack up the RV just to go to the store, or museum, or sight seeing gets old.  Some people do that and are very happy, others find that after a month or two they really want a small car.  Along that same line, think about a small 4 wheel drive SUV to tow.  There are lots of great gravel roads to very scenic places that you probably don't want to, or can't, take the RV.

Older RV's are great for people who have some tinkering experience and can fix small things and some bigger things.  Even new RV's can and do have problems a lot fairly minor.  When you always have to sit and wait for repairs or wait to get an appointment for a repair it gets old quick. 

That said, if you do a lot of looking and get a good inspection from an independent inspector you can get some good buys on a 10-12 year old RV.  It is hard to say to only buy a less than 5 year old RV or it is good to by a 12 year old RV. 

It is mandatory to get an inspection for ANY RV you buy.  Even buying a new RV you want to spend 2-3 nights at the dealers lot to make sure every thing works and that they will fix it before you pay for it. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 4483
  • Westminster, CO
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 02:22:02 PM »
As far as I know, the Mercedes engine is only available in the Sprinter chassis, which is rather small. The other gasoline-powered rigs are likely to be either a Ford chassis and engine or a Workhorse (perhaps Chevy) chassis and a Chevy engine. Don't worry so much about the engine itself, rather pick out the size and floorplan you like, then get it inspected.

Quote
When I look at the difference in price tag, I can't help but think that you have to be really unlucky to have to spend 30k in repairs if we choose the older one.
Am I wrong?

Nope -- you're correct, especially if you have a decent inspection prior to purchase.

Quote
Some RVs seem less expensive. I guess it has to do with the engine not being a Mercedes?

No, it's more related to depreciation from new (age and condition) or, for new units, the relative place in the hierarchy for the manufacturer. In other words, a coach with better materials and more amenities tends to be more expensive. Real wood instead of cardboard, screws instead of staples, more things as standard equipment, and much more.

And by the way, you might consider looking at the shorter class A units (shaped kinda like a bus), in addition to the class B and class C units you're discussing. The class A tends to have more usable space (and more storage) for a given length and, after you get accustomed to it, is easier to drive and (for many of us) more fun to drive, as well.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2017, 03:27:20 PM »
Diesel engines are more expensive than gas engines, regardless of who makes them, but they remain a relatively small proportion of the total RV cost. For similar equipment and quality of components, the Mercedes diesel probably adds several thousand dollars.

If you really want a new 24 footer, consider the Winnebago Trend on the ram Promaster chassis with gas engine, or the Minnie Winnie on a Ford van chassis with v10 gas engine.

However, I would recommend a used Class C or B for your wants & needs. It may take some time shopping, but there are always nice ones available. You save a bundle vs new and as you say, you won't have to spend all that much even if it needs some work.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Lou Schneider

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7376
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2017, 04:18:21 PM »
You have to be careful when analyzing RV fuel mileage claims, and like Gary said, unless you're in vacation mode racking up tens of thousands of miles per year, it shouldn't be the overriding factor in choosing an RV.

One way the Mercedes based motorhomes get good fuel mileage is being up to a foot narrower and a foot or two shorter than most RVS at 7 ft. 6 inches compared to 8 ft or 8.5 ft. for most motorhomes.

Losing a foot in width and height cuts their frontal area by 15 - 25%, which almost directly translates into using that much less fuel.  The tradeoff is less interior space and the resulting loss in either usable interior width or storage.

The other advantage is burning diesel instead of gas.  Diesel fuel contains 25% more energy per gallon than gasoline, if everything else is equal a diesel engine will automatically get 25% more miles per gallon.

Also make sure you're comparing gallons to gallons.  Imperial gallons used in Canada are 20% larger than US gallons, so getting 12 MPG in Canada is the same as getting 10 MPG in the US.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 04:30:16 PM by Lou Schneider »

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 505
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2017, 06:10:59 PM »
Another thing to consider is that diesel fuel costs more per gallon than gasoline and diesel maintenance costs more too
2002 Safari Trek 2830

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 674
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 06:18:33 PM »
You have to be careful when analyzing RV fuel mileage claims, and like Gary said, unless you're in vacation mode racking up tens of thousands of miles per year, it shouldn't be the overriding factor in choosing an RV.

One way the Mercedes based motorhomes get good fuel mileage is being up to a foot narrower and a foot or two shorter than most RVS at 7 ft. 6 inches compared to 8 ft or 8.5 ft. for most motorhomes.

Losing a foot in width and height cuts their frontal area by 15 - 25%, which almost directly translates into using that much less fuel.  The tradeoff is less interior space and the resulting loss in either usable interior width or storage.

The other advantage is burning diesel instead of gas.  Diesel fuel contains 25% more energy per gallon than gasoline, if everything else is equal a diesel engine will automatically get 25% more miles per gallon.

Also make sure you're comparing gallons to gallons.  Imperial gallons used in Canada are 20% larger than US gallons, so getting 12 MPG in Canada is the same as getting 10 MPG in the US.
BTW, Canada is on the metric system.  Fuel is sold by the liter.  Fuel efficiency is measured as Liters per 100 kilometers.  Some years ago Canada and England did use the imperial system and the gallons were like you stated.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

ArdraF

  • ---
  • Posts: 9748
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2017, 06:44:55 PM »
All good comments so far.  In southern California there's a family-owned Class C manufacturer called Lazy Daze.  They make a nice quality unit and sell factory-direct.  Sometimes you see a used unit, but not often.  We had two of them, a 22 footer and a 30 footer before upgrading to a Class A diesel pusher.  We also belonged to the Lazy Daze club and two of the ladies lived in their 23 footer full time.  They were two widowed sisters.  The first one bought hers after her husband died and her sister joined her a few years later after her husband died.  We thought theirs was a little small for two people full-timing, but they were happy in it so it's a matter of perspective.

We lived in our 34 foot DP for about five months while our new home was being built.  It worked just fine and we had enough storage for extra things like tax paperwork and other necessities part-timers don't need.  My mother even joined us for a few weeks over Christmas.

I suggest you visit as many RV lots or RV shows as possible.  Sit inside various models and picture how you would live in them.  We were doing that at one show and at some point I realized ten people were in the coach and we were all chatting and having a good time.  That's when I realized it was a good size for us and would be suitable for long trips.  (We're not full-timers but travel for several months at a time.)

Because you have not been RVers you really don't know what you need or want right now.  You need to find what appears to be a livable floor plan with adequate storage and at a reasonable price.  Not too new would be good, but also not so old that it's a money pit in repairs.  Start making lots of lists, for example, your must have items, your don't want items, and other items that could go either way.  It's a lengthy process but worth doing to get the RV that fits your needs.  Enjoy the process!

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

2kGeorgieBoy

  • ---
  • Posts: 381
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2017, 09:45:44 AM »
You may also want to factor in the extra cost of having a "toad" (small vehicle towed behind the RV). You should include the extra weight of a toad and be sure what you looking at can handle it, both in terms of towing capacity and hitch capacity. Remember, NOT all small vehicles can be used as toads. It may be helpful to start looking/learning about toads while you are looking/learning about RVs. It would be a shame to buy an RV and then find that either it can't handle the toad you're considering or that the toad you're considering can't be used. Some factors include capability to be towed "4 down" (on it's own wheels, not a trailer), vehicle weight, cost of a tow bar system, auxillary  brake system, tow dolly (if needed), etc.
2000 Georgie Boy Maverick
31' E450 V10  No slides
our toys:
'08 Polaris Touring LE ATV (mine)
'12 Polaris 550 XP ATV (wife's)
1968 AH Sprite (original owners, not on road at this time)
Gary, Jena, and Presley (our awesome yellow Lab).
Westcliffe, CO.

RedandSilver

  • ---
  • Posts: 1032
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2017, 11:12:17 AM »
You admit you know nothing about motorhomes - so I'm going to give it to you straight.

One of the biggest problems I see here on this and other forums is buying something too small to start because most people
don't think they need or want or can handle a bigger unit and THEN discover that it's too small and then upgrade over and over.

If you don't want to have to do that, I recommend getting something bigger then you think you need ESPECIALLY for 5-6 months
of use during the Winter months.  Bigger units have bigger tanks (fresh water, and waste) and more storage space all around.
Like others have said - a bigger unit can tow a car behind it - something many people find very useful when away from home for a long time.
Unhooking a motorhome every time you want to go out to dinner or get groceries gets old fast.  There are driving schools if your afraid of
a bigger unit.  Many women drive bigger units and do just fine - it just takes some practice.

IMO a small Class A would be a better choice for a 5-6 month journey. 
I wouldn't worry about an older unit - but pay someone that is qualified and get it inspected before you buy it.  A few hundred dollars for
an inspection is way better then a money pit that looked good but wasn't.  A 20 year old RV with 10,000 miles is usually not a good deal.

A used vehicle is almost always recommended over a new unit ESPECIALLY for first time buyers.
After overall condition is met then Floorplan becomes a very important decision to agree on.

As your title asks - I wouldn't go too cheap - many times you get what you pay for.  Too cheap might mean a lot of work
before it's road ready.  My first RV is 15 years old and serves me well.

Good luck in your quest for knowledge.  It's good you are researching this now. 

2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2017, 07:49:26 PM »
Thanks everybody, much appreciated.

I have many questions after reading your posts.

OK, let's begin:

By the way, gas mileage is not a really big problem unless you are planning on driving 10,000 miles or more a year. 

I just looked how many miles would it be to tour extensively the US. You break the 10K miles easily. I'll probably have to settle for less for the first winter. For exemple Quebec – Florida – Texas-Colorado and back. That's 6000 miles. That should be enough for a first trip.

Think long about going with a 24' or smaller MH for 2 people.  It gets pretty crowded.  It is great for a vacation for 2-3 weeks, but 5-6 months is a different issue. 

You make my day. I've been trying to convince my GF that a Sprinter is way to small and that a 24 footer is a minimum. Now I have amunition to bargain for larger than 24F.
:0)
What would be the difference in gas performance between 24F and 30F?

Give some thought about towing a small car.  Needing to pack up the RV just to go to the store, or museum, or sight seeing gets old. 

How much does in add in % to the gas consumption for a smallish toad?

We were thinking of buying 2 electrical bikes to travel around. The main shopping would be en route but if we need some small things or wanted to go into town from the camping lot such a bike would be enough. Right?

The other gasoline-powered rigs are likely to be either a Ford chassis and engine or a Workhorse (perhaps Chevy) chassis and a Chevy engine.

What does that mean, a Workhorse?

And by the way, you might consider looking at the shorter class A units


Any example that springs to mind?

The class A tends to have more usable space (and more storage) for a given length

We tought it was the opposite since the front is so square and the inside is so high it looks like that's lost space. Am I missing something?

and, after you get accustomed to it, is easier to drive and (for many of us) more fun to drive, as well.

Why is it more fun?

If you really want a new 24 footer, consider the Winnebago Trend on the ram Promaster chassis with gas engine, or the Minnie Winnie on a Ford van chassis with v10 gas engine.

Any major differences between the two engines?

Remember, NOT all small vehicles can be used as toads. Some factors include capability to be towed "4 down" (on it's own wheels, not a trailer), vehicle weight, cost of a tow bar system, auxillary  brake system, tow dolly (if needed), etc.

I went on Remco website and it look like a major expense. A few thousand dollars for a tow system it seems.

If you don't want to have to do that, I recommend getting something bigger (...) There are driving schools if your afraid of a bigger unit. 

I'm not afraid of bigger units, my wallet is! We're not that rich and money is a concern. We'll have to be reasonable with cash because we will be retiring at a young age.

 A 20 year old RV with 10,000 miles is usually not a good deal.


Why?

A used vehicle is almost always recommended over a new unit ESPECIALLY for first time buyers.


I would have tought the opposite? I'm really surprised. Why is that?

Again, thanks everyone for your time

Pascale
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 08:13:13 PM by Bobetpine »
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2017, 08:14:11 PM »
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 4483
  • Westminster, CO
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2017, 08:24:06 PM »
I don't have time at the moment to address all your new questions, but I'll take on a couple:

Quote
What would be the difference in gas performance between 24F and 30F?

Not a great deal. The 30 might get ever so slightly less, but it's only the weight that is different, from a mileage perspective. Frontal area is the biggest mileage killer and both will be about the same.

Quote
How much does in add in % to the gas consumption for a smallish toad?
Depending on many factors, not the least of which is the size/weight of the toad, it's probably not much over 1/2 a mile per gallon difference, and often may not be that much.

Quote
What does that mean, a Workhorse?
Workhorse is a brand of chassis, much like Chevy or Ford -- they used Chevy engines.

Quote
We tought it was the opposite since the front is so square and the inside is so high it looks like that's lost space. Am I missing something?
Probably. The inside front end of a class C is usually difficult to use as a normal part of the living room, while the two front seats in a typical class A will pivot around and become easy chairs for your living room. Also, the front of the class C has the engine taking up part of the length, while that of the class A is under the floor. You DO have the overhead bunk (in those so equipped) in a class C, but it's not much for living space other than for sleep. And there's typically a lot of basement storage in a class A, with little or no basement in most class C rigs.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 505
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2017, 11:04:39 PM »
Another thing you need to look at is cargo capacity, most class B's are built on a chassis with only an 11,000 pound GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), Class C's typically have GVWR 12,500 (E350 chassis)- 14,500 (E450 chassis) vs Class A's (my small 16 year old 28 ft class A is on a 17,000 GVWR chassis, and the slightly newer version of the same coach was offered on an 18,000 GVWR, and even had a 20,000 GVWR as an option).  As a result with empty water tanks mine has a cargo carrying capacity of nearly 3,000 pounds (or a little over 2,000 with full 80 gallons of fresh water on board), compare this to many sprinter based class B's like the 24 Leisure Travel vans Unity model you mention, which depending on floor plan, options etc. seems to have  cargo carrying capacity of around 700-800 pounds.  Once you consider in the weight of pots, pans, clothes, bedding, BBQ grill, camp chairs, food, (electric bikes) .... you will see that you you really can't carry much stuff in one of these sprinter based class B's.  One a 4200 mile trip I took this summer to Yellowstone, and to watch the big solar eclipse, I was loaded down to within 500 pounds of my capacity, or in other words I was carrying about 1,500 pounds of junk around, and sure I could have left some stuff behind, and did not use all of it, for example I never set up the 7x7 canopy and I did not need most of the tools out of the tool box which weighs 30-35 pounds, but I did end up using the 100+ pound spare tire I had on a hitch mount spare tire carrier, which would probably be one of the firs things to go with a lower cargo carrying capacity.

Ike

p.s. I happen to think Safari Trek's make great small class A's for 2 people to travel in here is a you tube video of one that is a twin of mine (same year, same options, only different mural on the back)  Note there are several salesman errors in the video, including length and transmission brand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqDAGm4LEJ0
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 11:07:53 PM by Isaac-1 »
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 07:17:51 AM »
I really like the big kitchen (ahhh countertop space!) and living area of that Safari Trek. Electric bed is great. That would be a king of floorpan we'd like, I guess.
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2017, 07:20:56 AM »
Another thing you need to look at is cargo capacity, most class B's are built on a chassis with only an 11,000 pound GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating)

Now I remember my friends (when we went with them in their Winnebago View) stressing out that we should not bring many things on board, I guess it was not only a space issue but also a weight issue.
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

2kGeorgieBoy

  • ---
  • Posts: 381
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2017, 10:07:02 AM »
While electric bikes may be fine in SOME circumstances, I think you will find that there are going to be a lot more times when a car is more practical...think rain, traffic, distance, carrying things. I would venture to say that a large majority of RV campgrounds will be located some distance from towns just because of real estate. As an example....here in Colorado in nearby Canon City, there are a number of campgrounds located on RT 50 very near to the Royal Gorge Bridge. However, if you want to go to Canon City to shop, get dinner or even sight see, it's about 7-8 miles away traveling on RT 50, a 3/4 lane mountain highway with speeds reaching 65. Not a good road for electric bikes, or any bikes for that matter.  Any other major shopping and other facilities etc., would be in the other direction on Rt 50, probably a good hour away in Salida. Pueblo, a large area city, is on RT 50 beyond Canon City and about an hours' drive on a 4 lane 65mph road.May be try using Google maps/earth or another program and locate areas you may want to travel to and stay and sight see, etc., and then locate campgrounds and see where they are located in relation to town, facilities, etc.
2000 Georgie Boy Maverick
31' E450 V10  No slides
our toys:
'08 Polaris Touring LE ATV (mine)
'12 Polaris 550 XP ATV (wife's)
1968 AH Sprite (original owners, not on road at this time)
Gary, Jena, and Presley (our awesome yellow Lab).
Westcliffe, CO.

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 674
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2017, 10:51:38 AM »
Thanks everybody, much appreciated.

I have many questions after reading your posts.

OK, let's begin:

By the way, gas mileage is not a really big problem unless you are planning on driving 10,000 miles or more a year. 

I just looked how many miles would it be to tour extensively the US. You break the 10K miles easily. I'll probably have to settle for less for the first winter. For exemple Quebec Florida Texas-Colorado and back. That's 6000 miles. That should be enough for a first trip.

Think long about going with a 24' or smaller MH for 2 people.  It gets pretty crowded.  It is great for a vacation for 2-3 weeks, but 5-6 months is a different issue. 

You make my day. I've been trying to convince my GF that a Sprinter is way to small and that a 24 footer is a minimum. Now I have amunition to bargain for larger than 24F.
:0)
What would be the difference in gas performance between 24F and 30F?

Give some thought about towing a small car.  Needing to pack up the RV just to go to the store, or museum, or sight seeing gets old. 

How much does in add in % to the gas consumption for a smallish toad?

We were thinking of buying 2 electrical bikes to travel around. The main shopping would be en route but if we need some small things or wanted to go into town from the camping lot such a bike would be enough. Right?

The other gasoline-powered rigs are likely to be either a Ford chassis and engine or a Workhorse (perhaps Chevy) chassis and a Chevy engine.

What does that mean, a Workhorse?

And by the way, you might consider looking at the shorter class A units


Any example that springs to mind?

The class A tends to have more usable space (and more storage) for a given length

We tought it was the opposite since the front is so square and the inside is so high it looks like that's lost space. Am I missing something?

and, after you get accustomed to it, is easier to drive and (for many of us) more fun to drive, as well.

Why is it more fun?

If you really want a new 24 footer, consider the Winnebago Trend on the ram Promaster chassis with gas engine, or the Minnie Winnie on a Ford van chassis with v10 gas engine.

Any major differences between the two engines?

Remember, NOT all small vehicles can be used as toads. Some factors include capability to be towed "4 down" (on it's own wheels, not a trailer), vehicle weight, cost of a tow bar system, auxillary  brake system, tow dolly (if needed), etc.

I went on Remco website and it look like a major expense. A few thousand dollars for a tow system it seems.

If you don't want to have to do that, I recommend getting something bigger (...) There are driving schools if your afraid of a bigger unit. 

I'm not afraid of bigger units, my wallet is! We're not that rich and money is a concern. We'll have to be reasonable with cash because we will be retiring at a young age.

 A 20 year old RV with 10,000 miles is usually not a good deal.


Why?

A used vehicle is almost always recommended over a new unit ESPECIALLY for first time buyers.


I would have tought the opposite? I'm really surprised. Why is that?

Again, thanks everyone for your time

Pascale
You ask lots of great questions and I'm sure more answers will be forthcoming.

A great way to gain some education is to click on "home" at the top of this form.  Once there scroll down and click on the following sections:
--  Newcomers' Corner
--  General Discussion
--  Motorhomes

In each section, scan down the list of topics looking for topics with a subject that interests you, read the first post in the topic and continue reading the replies.  If/when you find the posts in that topic don't give you information you can use, just move to the next topic. 

Just in case you are not aware of this, don't just click on a topic which usually brings that topic up in the internet browser window you are viewing, thus replacing what you were looking at.  When you do that, to go back to what you were looking at you have to press the "back" button and you reload that page.  Instead, with your mouse "right click" on the topic and select "open in a new tab".  Then go to that new tab and read the info.  When you finish reading just close that tab and go back to the original list of topics.  That way you don't loose your place in the original list of topics. 

Another great source for education is the Escapees RV Club forum:  http://www.rvnetwork.com/
Go to the link I just gave and read back through the following topics:
--  Beginning RV'ing
--  General RV Information
--  Sharing the Fulltime lifestyle
--  Graduating to Fulltime

I know you are not going to go full time travel in an RV, however much of what is discussed in the Fulltime sections pertain to people who travel for several months at a time.

Again this is not to suggest you need to read everything, just what you find informative. 

When you find information which is not clear to you, start a new topic, reference the topic you were looking at and ask for additional information or clarification.  Note: I suggest starting a new topic, not just replying in the topic.  On older topics, a lot of the time we don't take the time to read new replies.  Especially if we felt the topic was already covered, or branched into an off topic discussion.  However most of us do look at new topics we may be able to help with.  Especially when the subject line gives a little detail about what the question is.  Just like your subject did: "Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?" You gave good info in your subject line, instead of a subject like this "Need RV Information".  We see so many topics started like that. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 674
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2017, 12:31:41 PM »
Some answers/opinions:
Quote
By the way, gas mileage is not a really big problem unless you are planning on driving 10,000 miles or more a year.

I just looked how many miles would it be to tour extensively the US. You break the 10K miles easily. I'll probably have to settle for less for the first winter. For exemple Quebec Florida Texas-Colorado and back. That's 6000 miles. That should be enough for a first trip.

Yes to tour the USA, 10K miles.  However to do that in 5-6 months you are just doing the tourist thing.  A couple hours to see this, on to the next, a couple of hours, and then on and on.  Since you have the time, you want to "travel".  That is take your time, enjoy each place at your leisure, learn a little about the town/city/area. 

In your opening post you talked about traveling in the winters.  Not traveling one (1) winter.  So you go somewhere this winter, somewhere else next winter.  Oh yea, if you enjoy the RV'ing experience, you will travel in the summer as well, that is April-October to visit the northern and mountain areas.  Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are wonderful places to visit in summer for example.

Think of your RV as your "home".  Which is what it is while traveling.  In your home town area you wouldn't think of going to 2-3 museums/attractions in one day and then 2 more the next day.  You would go to one place, spend the amount of un-rushed time to see what you want, come home and relax.  Or perhaps going to a late lunch on the way home.

This is another reason for having a toad.  You park your home somewhere for a week or more.  Take the car/SUV to visit what you want and then come home.  If weather is rainy, cold or whatever you just stay home until you the weather is nice. 

This is another reason for going larger than 24'.  You want to be comfortable.  You don't need to be 35'-40' long, but 30' is better. 

Consider your first winters trip:  Leave in early October or late September, stop at interesting places in Virginia, NC, SC and then Florida.  When you finish Florida, head to southern Louisiana, New Orleans and Lafayette/Abbeville area.  Take a swamp tour while in the latter area.  Eat some of the Cajun food. 

By this time it could be March/April and time to head home for the summer.

Quote
And by the way, you might consider looking at the shorter class A units

Any example that springs to mind?

The class A tends to have more usable space (and more storage) for a given length

We tought it was the opposite since the front is so square and the inside is so high it looks like that's lost space. Am I missing something?

and, after you get accustomed to it, is easier to drive and (for many of us) more fun to drive, as well.

Why is it more fun?

Class A examples:  Winnebago Vista & Sightseer in the 30-34' range.  For brochures go here:  https://winnebagoind.com/product-resources/product-information  Tiffin motorhomes look for the Allegro and Allegro Bay here:  https://tiffinmotorhomes.com/owners/brochure-archive

Lost space:  The class A with the front being open and the drivers and passenger chairs able to swivel around, it gives it a much more apartment type feel.  Much roomier than the Class C.  You do loose the cab over bed though.  Although there are plenty of people in 29' and 30' Class C's which are perfectly happy.   Go to an RV show in your area and sit for 15-20 minutes in each and think about spending a few days with cold rainy weather in each.  Consider taking the couch out of the Class A and put in a pair of recliners.  That is what we do.

Fun to drive????  I don't think either are "fun" to drive.  Now if you go to a 35-40' diesel pusher they are more relaxing to drive. Quiet engine and many time more comfortable ride.

One thing about a Class A.  It takes a little while to become accustomed to driving one.  A Class C is more like driving a large pickup truck only needing to remember the length and extra width.  Search this forum for "driving motorhomes".  There should be some topics about driving Class A and Class C's.

Go to a RV dealer and take each for a test drive.  Don't let the Class A scare you, it just takes some practice to be comfortable driving it. 

Remember these things are not cars.  They don't drive or handle like a car.  You also don't want to drive 400 miles in a day, unless maybe it is all interstate.  200 to a max of 250 miles in a day is much better.  4 to 6 hours of driving, stop by 2 or 3pm and relax.  Plan on averaging 40 miles per hour for a days drive, including fuel stops, bathroom stops, lunch stops.  While driving, plan on a speed of 55-60mph, not 65-70mph.  Much safer and comfortable at this speed.  Not to mention much better gas mileage.


Quote
Remember, NOT all small vehicles can be used as toads. Some factors include capability to be towed "4 down" (on it's own wheels, not a trailer), vehicle weight, cost of a tow bar system, auxillary  brake system, tow dolly (if needed), etc.

I went on Remco website and it look like a major expense. A few thousand dollars for a tow system it seems.

Remco is a company which sells kits to allow vehicles which cannot be towed with all 4 wheels down to be towed.  Here is a link to a website which shows which cars/truck can be towed 4 wheels down:  http://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/

You will still need a tow bar and base plate to tow the vehicle as well as a supplemental brake system, like these at Blue Ox: https://www.blueoxtowbars.com/  Yes these will cost $2000-$2500 for everything.

Quote
A 20 year old RV with 10,000 miles is usually not a good deal.

Why?

A really low mileage older RV means it just sat around and maybe maintenance wasn't done.  Motors and drive trains want to be driven every month or two.  Not left sitting for a couple of years.   

You have asked a few times about engines.  Really the engines are not the thing to spend a lot of time being concerned about unless you are going to compare large diesel pushers to small gas or diesel RV's.  The engines are generally reliable.  Floor plan and comfort of your living quarters count much more than engine.  RV's are not speedy.  Generally the engines are pretty well matched to the RV they are in.

A well maintained gas engine/transmission will last 200,000 miles.

Hope this helps. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

ArdraF

  • ---
  • Posts: 9748
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2017, 01:52:18 PM »
You've addressed quite a few questions and I'll deal with a few.

Yes, a trip that circumnavigates the USA or to Alaska or to Newfoundland might be more.  We've had some of 11,000 miles and up to 14,000.  It depends on where you tend to spend the most time (in our case at our stick & brick) in the southwest.  We take a lot of trips east to visit our families who all live back there so our trips tend to be from 6-8,000 miles..

Towing a car doesn't make that much difference in mileage as long as it's a reasonable size relative to the vehicle doing the towing.  It might add a half-mile per gallon.  Our little Geo Metro was light compared to our Jeep Grand Cherokee which we would not have towed with our smaller Class Cs.  By the way our Metro was bought by a couple who had been full-timing for three years without a toad and she REALLY wanted one.  She was tired of waiting for her husband to unhook everything so she could go to the grocery store or the beauty salon to get her hair cut.  He didn't want to spend the money for a toad but she loved having the Metro!  Happy wife, happy life.  And having a four-wheel-drive vehicle is a lot more fun than a sedan because you can go to some fun places you wouldn't dream of going in a sedan.  RVing and four-wheeling are made for each other!

We looked at Safari Treks.  They're great for a single person but not for a couple.  Imagine one of you wanting to go to bed early and the other wanting to watch TV for a while.  We know a couple who bought one and thought they were crazy.  She said she had a tiny TV to watch at night and "it's okay" - but we noticed it was gone within a year.

Personally I think you'll want a larger Class A for full-timing.  Remember you need really good storage for all the "stuff" that others don't need such as tax paperwork, hobby items (quilting, woodworking, art, lapidary, etc.) plus tools and all the other normal day-to-day items such as canned foods.  Think how much a can of coffee weighs or even a can of soup.  It all adds up.

A lot of your mileage depends on YOU and how much of a lead foot you have and how fast you want to drive.  Most of us keep our speed to 55-63 mph and go easy on starting.  Higher speeds and fast starts use more fuel and it doesn't matter whether you use gas or diesel.  You have to learn how to ascend and descend our western mountains with a heavy vehicle.  If you start west from Denver toward the Eisenhower Tunnel at 11,000+ feet and leave it in cruise control you will use a lot of fuel because your engine will be trying to keep to a higher speed than is reasonable for high elevations.

You're asking good questions so keep 'em coming!

ArdraF
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 01:55:10 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
:D :D

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 505
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2017, 03:54:55 PM »
As a Trek owner, I agree lack of a dedicated bedroom is not for everyone, though it works for us, even in our sticks and bricks house my wife and I almost always go to bed at the same time, and we rarely use the bedroom TV.   I watch shows or browse the internet on my notebook computer, and she watches shows, or listens to audio books with headphones,or does puzzles, online games, or combinations of these on her tablet.  It is to the point now where I don't think our bedroom TV in our S&B house has been turned on this year.  The real big issue with the eltro-magic bed in Trek is getting to the bathroom at night, which requires the person in forward sleeping position to crawl over or under to get out of bed.   For us the solution is to keep the bed raised a bit from the fully lowered position leaving just enough room to sit up in bed without hitting our heads on the ceiling, this leaves a comparable amount of space between the floor and the bottom of the bed, and we use a small folding 2 step, step stool to get in and our of bed at the aft side.    I sleep to the front and am 6 ft tall, so to get out in the middle of the night I step down onto the engine doghouse cover, and sort of crawl under using the arm of the sofa and passenger seat for leverage.  I am on the young side for the RV crowd being not yet 50, though I am also not all that flexible for my age as I fell and broke my back in 2010, so the acrobatics of crawling under the bed in the middle of the night makes me feel a bit like being in one of those cat burglar movies jumping over laser beams.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2017, 09:39:22 PM »
And there's typically a lot of basement storage in a class A, with little or no basement in most class C rigs.

That's highly interesting. Especially with kiteboarding equipment: 2 boards, 3 kites, harness etc. it's not that heavy but it's bulky.
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2017, 09:42:25 PM »
Another thing you need to look at is cargo capacity, most class B's are built on a chassis with only an 11,000 pound GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), Class C's typically have GVWR 12,500 (E350 chassis)- 14,500 (E450 chassis) vs Class A's (my small 16 year old 28 ft class A is on a 17,000 GVWR chassis, and the slightly newer version of the same coach was offered on an 18,000 GVWR, and even had a 20,000 GVWR as an option).  As a result with empty water tanks mine has a cargo carrying capacity of nearly 3,000 pounds (or a little over 2,000 with full 80 gallons of fresh water on board), compare this to many sprinter based class B's like the 24 Leisure Travel vans Unity model you mention, which depending on floor plan, options etc. seems to have  cargo carrying capacity of around 700-800 pounds.  Once you consider in the weight of pots, pans, clothes, bedding, BBQ grill, camp chairs, food, (electric bikes) .... you will see that you you really can't carry much stuff in one of these sprinter based class B's.

That does not seem like a lot indeed. You have me second guessing our class B or C project big time.
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2017, 09:47:18 PM »

Towing a car doesn't make that much difference in mileage as long as it's a reasonable size relative to the vehicle doing the towing.  It might add a half-mile per gallon. And having a four-wheel-drive vehicle is a lot more fun than a sedan because you can go to some fun places you wouldn't dream of going in a sedan.  RVing and four-wheeling are made for each other.

Since we'll be on a budget, we'll probably buy a used car as a toad. 4 WD that can be used as toads are a lot more expensive than a Geo Metro. Could you give me an example of some place that you know that we really should go visit but would not be able to go if we had only a 2 WD? Trying to see if there's something interesting to us in the whole 4WD idea.
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

2kGeorgieBoy

  • ---
  • Posts: 381
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2017, 10:41:15 PM »
Sure...here in Colorado a lot of the really beautiful areas are accessible only with a 4wd vehicle. Sure, you can go to the "touristy" places with the paved roads, etc., BUT if you really want to see Colorado, go offroad. There are hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails, old mines, ghost towns, mountain lakes, and a lot more. In a large percentage, 2wd is totally out of the question. Another place would be Moab, UT. There are places you can go to ina regular car, but again, if you want to really see Moab, you need 4wd.

I will say that in a lot of the places you can visit, whether Colorado, Utah or another area, you may not need to use your 4wd, but you will need the extra ground clearance, stronger tires and stronger suspension, frame, etc.

Note to that not all "4wd" vehicles are really four wheel drive. True 4wd vehicles are built differently then the 4WD/AWD Soccer Mom, grocery getting minivans.

Disclaimer: my wife and I, while we have three 4WD/AWD vehicles, do not use them for offroading. Our vehicles of choice for that venture are our 2 Polaris ATVs.

Also, check out the 4 wheel drive area that is listed further down in this website. You can also find some good videos online of some of the places you can see with a 4wd vehicle. DON'T be scared off by some of the trails and rock crawling, not all of the trails are like that. A lot of places can be accessed easily, but a 4wd vehicle is highly recommended.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 10:49:17 PM by 2kGeorgieBoy »
2000 Georgie Boy Maverick
31' E450 V10  No slides
our toys:
'08 Polaris Touring LE ATV (mine)
'12 Polaris 550 XP ATV (wife's)
1968 AH Sprite (original owners, not on road at this time)
Gary, Jena, and Presley (our awesome yellow Lab).
Westcliffe, CO.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2017, 07:30:19 AM »
Quote
Could you give me an example of some place that you know that we really should go visit but would not be able to go if we had only a 2 WD? Trying to see if there's something interesting to us in the whole 4WD idea.

What do you like to do?  There are scenic places that are accessible primarily by 4WD vehicles, but literally millions sight-see every year without going to them. If out of the way places are your thing, then 4WD or AWD is a definite plus, but I don't think you will be shedding tears if you don't have one.  We've had both 4WD and 2WD toads and enjoyed both.  We've also been to places where a typical 4WD car or SUV was not sufficient for the trail - a more serious off-road vehicle was needed if we really wanted to see the back country. It all depends on what you want to do...
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 674
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2017, 08:05:13 AM »
Since we'll be on a budget, we'll probably buy a used car as a toad. 4 WD that can be used as toads are a lot more expensive than a Geo Metro. Could you give me an example of some place that you know that we really should go visit but would not be able to go if we had only a 2 WD? Trying to see if there's something interesting to us in the whole 4WD idea.
If the Geo Metro has a standard transmission, you can put the transmission in neutral and tow it.  If automatic you probably need to buy a tow dolly to put the front wheels on:  https://cartowdolly.com/  Do a internet search for "auto tow dolly" for more choices.  There are used tow dollies for sale sometimes.

As for needing 4x4 rather than the Geo Metro.  A small SUV with 4x4 has more ground clearance to get over rocks and bumps.  You may never need to use the 4x4, it is just nice to have the ground clearance.   

The Geo Metro will be fine on gravel and dirt roads as long as you take your time and don't go into really rough parts of the road.  When the road gets to rough, just stop and turn around and go back the way you came.  Also don't go on dirt roads if rain is expected or the road is wet.  Many times dirt gets very slippery.

Here is a blog entry of a guy who tows a Toyota Prius and takes it on gravel and dirt roads.  He just goes as far as he feels comfortable and turns around.  http://ramcquade.com/?p=8430

The trip he took, in the link above, is on a gravel road publicized in many blogs and other informational sources as "never, never take a small car, you must have a 4x4 high clearance".   BTW we also drove our small pick up on this road in August 2016 and agree totally with his assessment of the road that there is no reason to not take a 2 wheel drive car on this road. 

Here is a link to our blog entry of a day trip on the same road in the link above:  http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2016/12/mccarthy-kennecott-mine-ruins-and.html
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Lou Schneider

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7376
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2017, 12:36:47 PM »
I was camped on the shore of Lake Powell last night.  While exploring the coastline in my toad I came across a patch of sand on my way back to the campsite that required shifting into 4wd to get through.  Sure was glad to have it available!

ArdraF

  • ---
  • Posts: 9748
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2017, 03:30:14 PM »
I am sorry.  I need to make a correction.  Why I said we had a Geo Metro is beyond me - as in where did that come from??  :-[  We had a Geo TRACKER and it was 4WD with a transfer case.  We got it when we had the 30-foot Lazy Daze and it was a great tow car.  It also was great fun off road.  We got it because we wanted to be able to join our friends on some of the trails around Moab.  Getting a 4WD widens your "fun factor" horizons.  We've never done what can be called "serious" four-wheeling but there are numerous dirt roads unsuitable for regular sedans and RVs for that matter.  One time we used it to visit Chaco Canyon after heavy rains.  At one place in the road we joined a few other cars sliding into the ditch.  The others had to be pulled out but we just shifted to 4WD and backed out.  When it's dry the road is decent enough for any car but not when it rains and gets slick.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Bobetpine

  • ---
  • Posts: 28
Re: Undecided: spend on a newer RV or go cheap?
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2017, 07:30:42 AM »
What do you like to do?  There are scenic places that are accessible primarily by 4WD vehicles, but literally millions sight-see every year without going to them. If out of the way places are your thing, then 4WD or AWD is a definite plus, but I don't think you will be shedding tears if you don't have one.  We've had both 4WD and 2WD toads and enjoyed both.  We've also been to places where a typical 4WD car or SUV was not sufficient for the trail - a more serious off-road vehicle was needed if we really wanted to see the back country. It all depends on what you want to do...

We like it when it's really quiet (and this brings up the question of security). We don't do trails for the pleasure of driving in the mud, that's not our thing at all.

For example, we loved camping in our Westfalia in Anza Borrego desert (see attached pic). We found a trail that looked ok for our West and drove about 5 minutes away from the main road. We slept there in complete silence, which we absolutely loved. This is the kind of things we would love to do again. But then I guess i'll have to search topics about boondocking and safety especially for 2 women...
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

 

Hosted by Over The Network