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Author Topic: newby  (Read 611 times)

donz

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newby
« on: May 25, 2020, 05:56:01 AM »
I'm probably like all the newbys. We were looking at slightly used Class A's then I started reading forums.  Apparently floor plan is only part of the equation.  I like the space in the 30' models, but didn't realize how often and expensive repairs might be. 

I think we'd be more occasional users, although the idea of driving from Ohio to Alaska could be appealing.

My first question is , of Class A, B or C, which will have the lowest maintenance cost?

Thank you

skydivemark

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Re: newby
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2020, 12:45:37 PM »
I think that would depend A LOT on how much you are capable of doing yourself, no matter which style you decide buy.
2015 Thor Four Winds 31L
Clermont, FL

Kevin Means

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Re: newby
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 02:48:31 PM »
Hi Donz, and welcome to the RVForum. That's a pretty wide open question, so here's a fairly generic answer. First, floorplan is definitely an important consideration. If there's a feature in an RV that you really don't like, but think you can "live with", I promise that it will be like a pebble in your shoe over time. We learned that one the hard way.

Most modern motorhomes have pretty generic drive trains, and they're all pretty reliable. Diesel powered RVs will generally give you better mileage than gas powered RVs, and usually have greater towing capacity, but they cost more to buy and to operate. We've owned three Class As in the past 26 years (two gas and one diesel) and there's no question that our current diesel pusher costs more to maintain - by a factor of about three. Having said that, it's important to note that our current RV is a lot more complex and feature laden than our previous two RVs

I don't do the chassis maintenance on our coach - many people do, but I leave that to the pros. The labor rate at the Freightliner shop where I take our motorhome is $176.00 per hour. Everything is more expensive on a diesel - fluids, filters - everything. It costs me about $1200 a year to have all the scheduled maintenance done - and that's if nothing is wrong, which is usually the case. Gas engines just aren't available in larger motorhomes. They can be found in Class As up to about 38 feet in length. Anything longer will have a diesel. I do all the House maintenance, and as Mark said, if you can do that, you can save yourself a LOT of down-time and money.

Class As tend to have more storage space than Class Bs or Cs, and usually have heavier duty chassis, but there's no right or wrong answer as to which type would be best for you - it's all about your personal preferences, needs and budget.

FWIW, I think you're wise to be looking at slightly used RVs. Quality control is almost a waste of words when it comes to new RVs. All manufacturers do a poor job of it IMO, but some are worse than others. It's always been my philosophy that I'm going to let someone else deal with the new RV problems, warranty headaches and depreciation. So far, that has worked out well for us.

Good luck with your decision.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

Ex-Calif

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  • Dan from Dayton...
Re: newby
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2020, 03:14:29 PM »
As a newby RV owner I think there are a couple of first issues I will explain below.

First, here is a good guide I found in the resources section - http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=RVtypes

I was tent camping last year and decided I am getting too old for sleeping on the ground. I looked for and acquired a slide in camper. Due to a long story the slide in camper did not work out.

I then started looking for a 24 foot towable/trailer and had a couple of lines but could not work out a deal - I am stingy and rarely pay top dollar for my "toys" and never finance them. I was looking at a budget of like $4000-$4500 ready to go.

This was to fill the gap between now and retirement in about 3 years. In retirement I was pretty sure I wanted a class C used motorhome. I was thinking a budget in the $9,000 area.

Then out of the blue a 32 foot class A pooped up and the deal was actually too good to pass up - by the time I get it in "great" shape I will have about 1/3 of the resale value in it.

I can do all the work myself and as you mentioned maintenance costs are a factor - For me there were several factors to consider.

1 - How any people do I need to accommodate regularly and also periodically - visitors (2 and 4 for me)
2 - What is my budget? My budget was about $4500 for a now camper and about $9000 for a retirement RV (eventually trading off.
4 - What is the ongoing costs - The systems in a 32 foot Class A are sophisticated and many - i.e. things break... I can do the work so I am looking at my time and parts so not an issue
5 - Do I want to tow my camper or do I want my camper to tow my runabout - If you decide you'd like to tow a car or motorcycle now you have to decide what you are towing and how much power you need.
6 - How often will I use it vs. how much it costs to buy and maintain? - You can buy a lot of hotel rooms for a slightly used class A.

I personally thought that if I wasn't doing a trailer then the class C would suit me and my wife in retirement. Like I said, I "accidentally" bought a Class A.

So for you not knowing what you are coming from and what you need/want it's hard to answer the question. If you start thinking about starting easy with a trailer/towable then you open a whole can of worms on the tow vehicle...

I think a lot of buyers can rush in without a calm look at the parameters.

I know for a fact the PO of my unit bought on impulse, had no idea what he was getting into and basically let the thing fall into disrepair over 2 years of non-use. He thought it had a lot more problems than it did (good for me) because he was non-technical. IN the end he and his wife decided they had to "get rid of it" before it completely fell apart.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 03:16:02 PM by Ex-Calif »
"Marvin" - 1997 Georgie Boy Pursuit 3150 - P30 Chev 454
Various classic MGBs
Ex-liveaboard boater - Class A newbie in sponge mode

donz

  • Posts: 3
Re: newby
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2020, 07:43:19 PM »
Great info from all!  Thank you very much.  The thought process continues!

Don

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: newby
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2020, 09:42:57 AM »
I think B's and C's have slightly lower maintenance and repair costs, primarily because they tend to have simpler systems than a larger and more-equipped A's.   For example, the Class A probably has a leveling system, maybe an inverter, more batteries, etc.   However, the difference between a 30 ft A and a similarly equipped 30 ft C is probably going to be negligible. Anything you need to pay an RV dealer to do is going to be super-expensive, so DIY vs dealer is a huge difference. And if your maintenance strategy is to drive it to a RV dealer and say "take care of it", you are going to pay heavily for work of sometimes doubtful value and get frustrated by delays and quality concerns as well.

In my opinion, floor plan and condition are the overwhelming concerns. It's much more like buying a house than a car, so get your head in the right game.  It's more important that the plumbing works and the roof doesn't leak than whether the engine has plenty of horsepower.   As for floorplan needs, it's tough for a newbie who doesn't yet know how their style of RVing will develop; chances are you will end up liking things you had no clue of until you tried.  Size is one thing that many first time buyers get wrong - they find that that adorable little bathroom and cozy kitchen are just a royal PITA. But you can tolerate a lot of inconvenience if it's only an occasional weekend.

Some people feel the best approach for a newbie is to buy the first one cheaply and plan on trading it once you have some experience to show you your needs. Others say buy a large & totally loaded rig as #1 and be done with it, but that's a huge financial commitment.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Tom55555

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Re: newby
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 03:10:27 PM »
IMO class C is the least expensive over time and obviously not because of gas mileage. Most are Ford or Chevy chassis' which are typically modified pick up truck frames with gasoline engines. Either brand can be serviced just about anywhere in the US. Take care of them and they will last a long time.

I know people like class B vehicles but I want a real shower and to me they are a "get me there" vehicle verses a "I want to stay here" vehicle. Just too small.

Class A normally have diesel engines which are expensive to buy and maintain plus you often need a second vehicle because they are too big to run errands with or park in town.

But let's be honest, if you want to travel cheap, fly or rent a car and stay at low cost motels. RVs aren't cheap to buy, maintain or use but I personally think there is no better way to travel.
2015 Winnebago 22R

Larry N.

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  • Westminster, CO
Re: newby
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 06:37:44 PM »
Quote
Class A normally have diesel engines which are expensive to buy and maintain
Not really true, Tom. There are LOTS of gas powered class A rigs out there. Most manufacturers offer several different class A gas rigs*, today usually based on the Ford F-53 chassis, in various sizes, with the ones at and under 30 feet, or so, being as easy (or as hard) to find a parking spot as the same length class C, but with more storage space, so similar costs to maintain.


*Check out the Fleetwood Bounder, Newmar Bay Star and Canyon Star, and the Tiffin Allegro Open Road, for example.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Tom55555

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Re: newby
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2020, 08:28:34 PM »
Larry, You are technically correct but many people think 30+ feet and diesel for class A. The original question was which class requires the least amount of maintenance. IMO, I say class C.
2015 Winnebago 22R

Mark_K5LXP

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  • 2005 Itasca Sunova
Re: newby
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2020, 09:27:33 PM »
What made me decide between a class A and C is payload margin.  Class C's being predominantly a "van" chassis there's often little passenger/cargo payload capacity left once the tanks are full and all the "necessary" stuff is loaded.  A class A being a "truck" chassis can usually have more.  There are other attendant consequences of an A vs C in terms of the house and chassis but when you consider most all non-bus RV's are a crappy house built on a UPS truck, I'll take the one that isn't at max payload before I even get in it.  The openness/extra room of the cab area of the A vs C I think allows for a bit smaller A for a given length and isn't as claustrophobic to drive (not that a C is cramped, but an A is super open).  A class C is like driving a big heavy van, an A is more like a bus with a comfy seat looking out a picture window.

As far as chassis builder I'm not sure it matters, if you can't do any work yourself you're going to pay retail rates for everything.  These aren't your typical japanese car that runs for a hundred thousand miles on just oil changes, RV's need a lot of expensive attention all the time.  Doing a lot of your work isn't so much about being cheap or saving money, it's also self reliance because when (not if) something quits on you, odds are it will be in a place where service isn't available or possible.  If your fresh water pump craps out, your refrigerator doesn't light or any of the myriad problems that happen, that could derail the trip but if you know enough to find it and possibly revive it, you've saved your trip or at least an unwanted detour.  If you think you're going to travel cheap in an RV let me assure you, an RV is the most expensive traveling you'll ever do.  Depreciation alone much less maintenance and repairs would buy a lot of plane tickets and four star hotel stays.  Inasmuch as I cringe at the idea of all the work and money you dump into these things, when the stars align and you make it there in one piece it can be very relaxing and rewarding.  That's the "making memories" part which would be difficult to duplicate any other way.  Just keep in mind though, the dollar/memory ratio is pretty high no matter what you end up with.   If you really want cost effective, it's hard to beat a motorcycle and camping out in a tent.  Compared to a class A that was a hard sell to the DW.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Tom55555

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Re: newby
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2020, 10:30:27 PM »
Mark, good points, so true. Nothing like a motorcycle and a tent. Will I ever sell my 2000 Kawasaki KLR 650? Not likely anytime soon. LOL
2015 Winnebago 22R

Ex-Calif

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  • Dan from Dayton...
Re: newby
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 04:59:10 AM »
Never say never - LOL 

Last summer's bike trip is what got me started on the RV journey - Getting too out of shape to crawl out of a tent every morning... Plus I got pulled in front of by an SUV and dropped the bike to avoid an accident.  Too many crazy drivers out there now...

Although the memories will last forever...
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 05:01:12 AM by Ex-Calif »
"Marvin" - 1997 Georgie Boy Pursuit 3150 - P30 Chev 454
Various classic MGBs
Ex-liveaboard boater - Class A newbie in sponge mode

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: newby
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2020, 09:46:41 AM »
Quote
...many people think 30+ feet and diesel for class A.
Maybe, but the vast majority of Class A coaches under 36 ft are gas-powered.   For several years around 2008 it was actually hard to find a diesel-powered Class A under 40 ft, but a burgeoning market has brought back some models in the 30-36 ft range.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL