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Author Topic: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?  (Read 65276 times)

itself

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BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« on: September 16, 2009, 07:50:03 AM »
I've gone to the library and looked up the RV section and how to buy.  But I am curious, what is the best Class A motorhome you have owned?  Most reliable, least repairs, brands you would recommend looking at.  We will be full timing it, so we are going for the full monty!

Thanks!

Lisa

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 09:03:48 AM »
None of the motorhomes I have owned could be termed really reliable or minimal in repairs. By their very nature they are a complex beast, bounced down the road in all kinds of weather and climate, plus the initial quality isn't all that great to begin with. Of those I have owned, probably the  2002 National RV Dolphin LX was the most reliable, but the first year with it was pretty bad too. Once it got straightened out, it did pretty well thereafter.

My current coach is loaded with sophisticated electronics that seem to fail - there is always something on the fritz!
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
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ArdraF

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 12:41:36 PM »
Actually our first El Dorado Class C and our two Lazy Daze Class Cs were absolutely the most problem free.  Each of the Lazy Daze Cs had one minor problem easily solved.  As they got older there were occasional problems that had to be dealt with on the road.  BUT, those were before all the fancy "stuff" added to the newer RVs.  Our two Monaco Class As have been pretty good.  Each had some problems the first year, but nothing that was so serious it kept us from enjoying them.  As Gary said, not only are our houses on wheels very complex but the shaking going down the roads means things will loosen.  You need to constantly check things.  For example, I sometimes see loose screws as I'm cleaning and either tighten them myself or tell Jerry if it's something that looks more important.  If you correct problems right away they never have a chance to get serious.  Luckily (knock on wood) we've never had anything really major go wrong with any of our motorhomes.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Jim Godward

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 01:25:32 PM »
We have had 2 fairly recent MHs, a Seabreeze by National and a Dutch Star by Newmar.  Both were/are good but t he Newmar stands out.  We have had few problems only a couple Newmar related.  The others were in vendor items like water heater, engine, etc.  The Newmar items were trivial and easily resolved.  One remains and that is a single pane windo along side the driver but I knew that when we bought the MH.  I just haven't been in the right place with money at the same time to replace it.

Newmar makes good MHs and they are still around.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
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taoshum

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 03:40:17 PM »
There's a saying about boats... the two best days in a boat owner's life are the day of purchase and the day of sale.  Another one is... definition of a boat- "something that makes a hole in the water where you throw money".  RV's and especially motorhomes are kinda like that in my rather limited experience.  There are lots of fun times and certainly enough things to fix that I would suggest that you, especially if you go full time, focus on floor plans, creature comforts, storage, compatibility with your lifestyle/activities, pleasing colors and amenities, name brand appliances, a dealer "network" to fall back on when there are issues and then... ratings, reliability statistics, repair statistics, reviews to avoid obvious lemons.  For instance, king vs queen beds; number and type of slides; kitchen location; computer table; location of TV relative to seating; diver controls layout (ergonomics); satellite reception; awnings (electric or manaul); enough a/c and/or heat for the climate where you will travel most; enough gen/set power to run your accessories; towing features; and what not will impact your day to day life where as engines, transmissions, tires, chassis, structures etc are very important of course but there are more similarities than differences between the brands.  Go to some shows where there are many models in one place... I predict you'll find one that you really like more than most of the others.  IMHO, FWIW.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 11:29:34 PM by taoshum »
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itself

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 07:24:06 PM »
Thanks for the great advice.  What a shame that RVs in general are just not built well.  But again, as I stated in another thread, this is why I buy Japanese cars, and also, japanese components for my bicycles.

The richest nation in the world, The US of A, produces junk.  My word, it seems like if someone got the capital up, they could start an RV company that would outshine all others!

Lisa  :)

Wendy

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 07:35:26 PM »
What a shame that RVs in general are just not built well

Wait just a darn minute. I don't think anyone said that RVs aren't built well. It's just that there are a lot of different components to an RV and it's a project to get them all working together. Your Japanese cars don't have refrigerators and beds and microwave ovens and furnaces. Has my motorhome been perfect since the day I bought it? No. But neither was my Ford Explorer. And I couldn't sleep, cook, or poop in my Ford. I think you need to look around at RVs and give them a chance.

Wendy
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 08:31:43 PM by Tom »
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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itself

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 07:48:18 PM »
Wendy,

Absolutely I am going to an RV show!  I definitely have to lower my expectations about quality, and make sure I take some "fix it" lessons so I can stay on top of all the repairs that will be required.  Yes, a home on wheels is definitely different than a car....but then again, why can't americans build reliable cars?!!!

Lisa

Jackliz

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 07:56:46 PM »
Our present home on wheels, a 1993 Bluebird Wanderlodge, 40 ft.



Liz
Regards,
Jack and Liz Pearce and Oreo the Escape Cat
Fulltiming in a 1993 Wanderlodge WB 40 ft
Dhanis, TX - Winter
Buena Vista, CO - Summer

Wendy

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2009, 08:26:57 PM »
why can't americans build reliable cars?!!!

We put over 212,000 miles on our Ford Explorer. Had to fix a few things off and on but over all it ran great and we loved it just as much as the Toyota P/U we had before we got the Explorer.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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Mc2guy

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2009, 08:40:55 PM »

The richest nation in the world, The US of A, produces junk.  My word, it seems like if someone got the capital up, they could start an RV company that would outshine all others!

Lisa  :)

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.   The U.S. generally speaking produces goods of extremely high quality.  Compare a U.S. made product with its foreign counterparts (and I include all the Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, and Subaru's built right here in the U.S. of A as American made goods) to its foreign counterparts and you will find you are incorrect.  This has nothing to do with patriotism.

To your second point, yes, someone "could" make a product with slightly higher reliability if they really tried hard.  When all was said and done they would have a product that had to compete at a much higher price point.  The point you seem to be missing is that quality costs money.  As someone said, these are complex machines with many many components.  The fact that there are so few problems at the price point you can get a decent class A is remarkable.
Christian, Jenn, Holden, and Emerson
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Ken & Sheila

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2009, 09:32:10 PM »
Unlike a car, motorhomes are low volume, extremely complex, and built with many options and many floorplans and lengths. If you only build 10 of any one floorplan/length with the likelyhood of major differences due to options (like hydronic heat vs forced air) its is almost like every unit is custom built - yet they are built on an assembly line.

As a manufacturer I can say that the only solution is much higher prices (custom build) OR far fewer floorplans, options and even fewer models. As the Japanese can attest the only way to get quality on a production line is consistency. To have that you must build the same product over and over. This gives efficiency and quality.

Only one problem. The RV buyer is demanding floorplans, options etc. I have seen a small trend to fewer options and fewer floorplans, but then sales are also way down.

All that said my 09 Monaco Camelot had relatively few quality issues off the line. This is surprising in that it was one of the last built before Monaco shut down and never really went through their final inspection and repair stage. I expect few problem after the initial "teething" issues. My 2000 Windsor spent over a week at Monaco having things fixed (none ever stopped us from enjoying the rig). Once that was done it ran just fine for over 9 years before I traded it.

Ken & Sheila
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2008 Jeep Liberty, 2006 Saturn Vue
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Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2009, 10:59:51 PM »
I'm driving a 2000 Ford Ranger with close to 100,000 miles on it and it has never been in the shop for anything more than scheduled maintenance.

I assume you live in a house now. I'll also assume that you think it is well built. Now load it on a truck and drive it down the road at 55 mph and see how long it stays together. When you have a motor home you are driving a house down the road.

They build motor homes with the quality that you are looking for. But when you go shopping for them you better be ready to pay well over $1,000,000. Check out Newell or Prevost for two.
Don & Peg
Alaska/Arizona
Currently located here.
Weather at Camp Verde, AZ.

taoshum

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2009, 12:29:51 AM »
Thanks for the great advice.  What a shame that RVs in general are just not built well.  But again, as I stated in another thread, this is why I buy Japanese cars, and also, Japanese components for my bicycles.

The richest nation in the world, The US of A, produces junk.  My word, it seems like if someone got the capital up, they could start an RV company that would outshine all others!

Lisa  :)

If everyone followed your logic... everyone would buy Japanese cars, fridges, washing machines, trucks, computers, dining tables, etc, etc, etc they would even go to Japan for haircuts, heart surgery, lettuce, steaks, carpet, coffee, tea, space shuttles, military hardware, airplanes, etc, etc.   There's a reason most of us don't do that... it's not true.  Every machine, even the ones manufactured, actually designed, in Japan, needs attention and maintenance, just like the ones manufactured here or Germany or Korea or Mexico or Brazil or wherever.  I readily admit that Japanese cars have a decidedly strong reputation for initial quality.  I also know that you will hear testimonials here and other places that show the differences you perceive are not as large as many people think they are. 

It's never fails to amaze me how difficult it is to actually build a vehicle, any vehicle, and at the same time most folks assume that it is "no big deal" but have never even met an engineer/scientist or anyone in the business of providing all the technical marvels we take for granted.  My DW often mentions that she is still amazed that there is electrical power at the flip of a switch, all day, all night, 24/7 and that it only costs 12 cents per kilowatt hr.  She said if she had to figure this out, she'd charge $1000 per kilowatt-hr.  LOL, she's right.  Which gets me back to motorhomes... many of the components that go into a motorhome are extremely reliable, there are the same fuzes, bulbs, wiring, hoses, brake materials, bearings, electronics, etc, etc that are used in every vehicle on the road.  Then there are systems that are only in motorhomes, like hydraulic leveling systems, integrated AC/DC and gen/set power systems, fresh water distribution systems, sewage storage systems, and many others and this assembly is capable of running down the road at 60-70 MPH and still achieving a reasonable MPG.    They are actually almost custom made for each buyer... and there are literally hundreds of factories doing this.  Go to the Honda dealer and ask for a custom made vehicle sometime... LOL  they won't know what to say.  Ask a street racing customizer how much they charge for a top-of-the-line race car customized to your specifications... it will be like $150 grand for a custom Honda with no warranty and you will need a highly trained mechanic to keep it running.  If some MH factory built 1,000,000 identical motorhomes per year, I predict that they would reach a much higher level of initial reliability and quality.

So, as I mentioned above, go to a show and find the one you like, learn how to operate it, appreciate it and take care of it... then ask your question again and see if your assertion that US built products are not "reliable" is still true.  As many folks have mentioned, the globalization "revolution" has blurred the boundaries so much that it is difficult to say where something is made anymore.  It's a lot  more about politics, marketing and finance these days... unfortunately.  IMHO, FWIW, as usual.  thx, Gary
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

itself

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2009, 07:24:19 AM »
No disrespect, Mc2Guy, but consumer reports shows horrible reliablity for american made cars, as well as some of the pricey German cars.   It's good to hear that some ford products might be doing better, but I do know what I am talking about, as I always take great care in doing research before I buy a car.  I've owned Hondas, Subarus and Toyotas, and guess what, consumer reports puts them all in the top three.

We buy things "thinking" they are american made.  Dig a bit further, and they are probably produced afar.  I can't even buy clothing from LL Bean or REI that is american made anymore.

I would so love to support our country but alas, greed for high salaries has pushed everything to foreign countries.

Lisa

Just Lou

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2009, 09:08:46 AM »
It puzzles me too. ???

Why is it that these greedy Americans require more than $4.75 per hour for the privilege of making my cloths.  I'd even pay $5.75, just for the LL Bean label, if only they were made in America. ::)

Just look at them sorry bib's in my avatar.  Made in Milaysia..
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 09:11:26 AM by Lou (onaquest) »
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Mc2guy

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2009, 09:25:31 AM »
Again, you don't seem to be acknowledging that those "American made" cars you refer too include Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, Subarus, and even Hyundais.  Many of those cars that score on the top of consumer reports reliability list are made right here by american workers.  More than half of the models were designed by American design studios and engineered by american engineers.  Why is it so hard for you to admit that?  This is not conjecture, it is fact.  If you define an "American" product merely by brand you are really missing the boat since corporate branding is largely irrelevant in today's automotive world. 

BTW, consumer reports has a horrible reputation for inaccuracy in their rating systems.  Look at JD Power...4 of the top 10 brands for initial quality are "American" brands.

As for your comment...you didn't limit your criticism to autos, you said the U.S.A. produces junk.  I find that statement offensive and more importantly, patently false.   The cost of U.S. labor almost guarantees that ONLY products that require highly educated and trained workers that can command a premium will be manufactured here.

 

Christian, Jenn, Holden, and Emerson
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2009, 09:27:12 AM »
Ken is right about most motorhomes being essentially custom builds done in an assembly line environment. The thing that bothers me about RV quality is the defects that are designed in.  I'm talking about wiring and plumbing that is under mechanical stress or subject to abrasion (especially around slides), inadequate ventilation of electronics and battery compartments, lack of anti-corrosion protection for the numerous chassis wire connections, poorly designed a/c and heating ducts, water lines exposed to freezing, etc.  I can comprehend that some of these things may be more prevalent in lower end models where cost-cutting is a prime goal, but the high end rigs seem plagued with them as well. Many of these companies have been building motorhomes for years and ought to know better.  And the same people move from company to company, including the start-ups, carrying their expertise (or lack) with them.

It is fair to say, though, that a complex motorhome is going to need more than just the occasional oil change your car expects.  A fixed house has more than enough routine maintenance to keep it functioning and a mobile "house" with multiple sources of power and movable "rooms" is going to need much, much more. It's the nature of the beast.

In several ways a trailer is simpler in design. Thus, it is likely to be lower in maintenance.
Gary
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Tom

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2009, 10:47:56 AM »
Not wishing to offend anyone, here's another perspective that parallels the RV industry. The "custom built on an assembly line" analogy applies to boats as it does to RVs. My other half remodels/re-decorates the interiors of boats/yachts, many of them costing multiple times what our coach cost.

After stuff has been taken apart, if something doesn't look right, yours truly gets called in to observe and fix. I'm often appalled, but not surprised at what we see.

I say "not surprised", because I've visited some of the factories where these vessels are built, right here in the US, and have observed shoddy workmanship and mistakes being made. What we see all too often in the finished product is that the bad stuff has been covered up. So, on the surface, everything looks very nice, but underneath the surface lies bad workmanship, errors, and poor attempts at fixes.

I usually grab my camera to document what we find for the owner who has shelled out a large amount of dough &/or taken a huge loan on their dream possession.

Some of these revelations are not unlike some of the things I've seen on our coach.

FWIW we've talked on this forum for the last 16 years about the need to "improve quality of RVs". Little seems to have changed beyond technology and materials/finishes.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 07:58:54 PM by Tom »
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Wendy

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2009, 11:02:09 AM »
My Dad has always maintained that the people who build RVs should be forced to live in them. Maybe then they'd notice some of the things we see.

Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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ArdraF

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2009, 02:41:41 PM »
Itself,

In addition to going to an RV show and familiarizing yourself with what RVs are all about, I'd strongly recommend going to as many RV factories as you can.  Unfortunately there aren't as many as there used to be because too many failed in this bad economy, some for reasons having nothing to do with product quality.  Nevertheless, try to include both "high end" and "low end" factories because the production line is really where you see quality differences.  When you take their tours you will be absolutely amazed that our rolling homes work as well as they do and with so few problems.  For starters, each RV includes a couple of miles of wiring in harnesses, all color coded and use printed by laser.  We visited five factories before purchasing our first Class A diesel pusher and I'm still amazed by what the manufacturers accomplish.  When I think of all the things that COULD go wrong and don't, I'm even more amazed.  Your anti-American product bias shows a serious lack of comprehension about RVs and what's involved in building them.  I've also toured automobile production lines and there's no comparison to what takes place on an RV production line.  For one thing, the tasks that take place on automobile lines are so repetitious that robots have taken over many of the tasks.  That would be impossible in RV manufacturing.  You are comparing apples to oranges.  I'm not saying RVs are perfect because they aren't and neither is anything else that humans produce, but I do believe we need to be realistic about what we get for our money.

I like the phrase about RVs being custom made in an assembly line environment.  Our current coach is the only one like it and it came off a production line.  They changed the entire bedroom layout including dimensions and floor height in one area, the bathroom layout and dimensions, the lounge ceiling, the galley counter and cabinet, etc. etc.  Oh yes, it's also the only one with a blue interior and exterior.

ArdraF
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 02:43:14 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
:D :D

itself

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2009, 03:30:29 PM »
Tom and Wendy,

Some great points, and Tom I expecially find it interesting that over 16 years you haven't seen too many changes/improvements.   Wendy, that is a riot, yes, let's have the RV builder live in them for a while!!

How many RV owners are their nationwide, I am so curious?  Obviously, perhaps, not enough to drive producing better quality ones.

I think a tour of a factory is a great idea!

Are their any RV manufacturers on this website?  I ask, as Hobie Cat, a manufacturer of boats and kayaks, has a forum and the customer service people are on the forum and address issues that come up.  They really take making their boats and kayaks better, very seriously.  I think it says a lot about the company.

Lisa

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2009, 04:14:39 PM »
According to a study bu the University of Michigan, about 8.2 million households have an RV. Tat could be abyhing from a Pop-up to a Prevost, of course.

Occasionally a manufacturer rep will briefly visit this site, but not often. We don't allow advertising of their wares, so they don't seem to be much interested. A few RV manufacturers sponsor their own owner web site and several have a captive owner club, but the majority of such sites and clubs are operated by the RV owners themselves.
Gary
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Mc2guy

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2009, 04:50:57 PM »
According to a study bu the University of Michigan, about 8.2 million households have an RV. Tat could be abyhing from a Pop-up to a Prevost, of course.


During some other research on motorhomes I did last year, I came across a survey by the NHTSA's Bureau of Transportation Statistics that showed there were 1,400,340 motorhomes in operation (active registration, not necessarily used) in 2001.  Extrapolated for the growth in the industry, I would estimate the total number on the road at somewhere around 1.6 million for 2008-9. 

What is probably even more relevant is the number of "new" units being purchased/sold in a given year.  That number plummeted in 2008 and 2009.  RVIA projects the number of new "RV" units sold for 2010 to be 185,000 down from a high of 390,000 in 2006.  If you assume that approximately 15% are motorhomes (about the historical average), then the entire market is less than 28,000 units per year, or about 3% of the number of F-150s sold.
Christian, Jenn, Holden, and Emerson
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AJHales

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2009, 10:12:02 AM »
To get back to the subject, but change the question slightly  ;)

What is the BEST class A Motorhome you'd like to own?  ;D
Andy
If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
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Ned

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2009, 10:28:58 AM »
What is the BEST class A Motorhome you'd like to own?  ;D

For us, hands down would be a Newell.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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AJHales

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2009, 10:49:23 AM »
I've just looked at the Newell web site. WOW!!! :o
Andy
If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
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BernieD

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2009, 08:00:50 AM »
What is the BEST class A Motorhome you'd like to own?  ;D

We're with Ned. Newell is the only motorhome Marlene has ever lusted for ;D
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
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tomtownod

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2009, 10:08:06 AM »
My wife and I have owned 3 MH since 2000 a 94 Winnebago Vectra 1999 Country Coach Magna currently a2006 Country Coach Magna.  All the MH were very well made and preformed quiet well they all have issues most were not a serious issue. We have friends that have Prevost, Tiffin coaches, Monaco, Foretravel,Beaver,Winnebago,American Eagle these are the ones that I can remember. They all have issues but I would not trade our CC for any of the coaches I just mentioned mostly because of the quality of workmanship or in the case of the Prevost they are too complicated to operate and work on. MH are a lot like women there are few if any that are perfect, most if not all  have some issues ,but we still love to tinker with them.  ;D

Tommy Townsend 2006 CC Magna
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 02:19:37 PM by tomtownod »

cabrikid

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Re: BEST Class A Motorhome you have ever owned?
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2011, 07:40:33 PM »
We buy only American made vehicles, and we always get good service from them. We don't support foreign goods because we live here, so we support our own. They have enough of our US jobs, and money already. Where would your job be if everyone thought and shopped like you?
As for motorhomes, the only really bad motorhome we have purchased was our Itasca Suncruiser 37B, it spent most of the first year of its life in service having almost every major component installed on it replaced or repaired. Our Super C's (Greyhawk & Seneca), our Class A's (Coachmen, Damon Intruder, & Damon Challenger) were excellent motorhomes. They were beautiful inside and out. Our Itasca was a beautiful coach, just a lemon. They required general maintenance from time to time, but so does our home that we built. Your toilets will run, faucets will drip, filters will get dirty, fine lines began to appear on the walls at the corners of your door frames because the house settles with time.......drive that house over bad roads, under low tree branches, etc.....you will find repairs will be required more often than if it was always sitting still.
The other reviewer nailed the issue when stating that all motorhomes will have someone with bad reviews, find the one you like and do what we do.....buy an extended warranty. We get the one with $100.00 deductible and road side, it covers 95% of everything you need done.