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Author Topic: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?  (Read 42114 times)

wdwiv2002

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Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« on: September 17, 2013, 06:12:52 AM »
I've been scouring forums and posts in my free time for weeks trying to get a handle on an excellent class A RV for full-time living.  No one seems to have an answer.  It's always "it depends" on factors that are never quite enumerated.  I'll enumerate my factors below.

I have $150,000 to spend on a used Class A DP.  I've decided I want the Class A roominess/features and the diesel engine.  I will live in it full time, in climates from Texas to Alaska in all sorts of weather (though Alaska I will avoid winter - but I can foresee encountering negative temps regularly in winter wherever I am).  However, from what I've read, most of the major name brand RV's won't stand up to full time living in four seasons without causing major damage/major headaches/major discomfort.

If this isn't the case - please let me know by listing a manufacturer/model that is rated for full-time living - whether or not it's in my budget, but preferably within my used budget.  Also from my research it seems that most RV manufacturers will deny certain warranty claims if the vehicle is being lived in full time.

If there are excellent 5th wheels for full time/four season living then I may consider changing my mind on the Class A.  I've looked into some Canadian companies that I read were recommended, but none that I saw, of those recommended, had Class A's or 5th wheels.

Thank you in advance!

P.S. - I've read all the "it's not a house", or "no one could afford an RV that they could really live in full-time in four seasons"... No need to post that if that's the advice.

Oscar Mike

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 06:38:29 AM »
It is certainly possible to live in a motor home year round, many folks do. But in most cases of full timers (I am not one) that I've gathered is their ability to move and stay out of the extreme cold and heat. Motor homes as you might know, or will soon know are not insulated, and IMO are designed for fair weather with a bit of rain thrown in on occasion.

$150,000.00 will buy you a sweet used diesel pusher, that is livable full time. If you're planning to live in Wyoming or Montana in the wintertime you'll probably have some issues to contend with, frozen pipes and such with any 150k coach you might end up with.

Have you driven a Class A coach. I found that I just did not like driving a Class A, so I recently sold ours to look for a smaller coach.

Lot's to think about, your money, your decision...good luck in your journey. 

livingthedream

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 06:54:51 AM »
I own  a 1996 36' Georgie Boy.  I live in it full time in Long Island NY. I keep the propane heat on all the time at around 70 degrees. When the outside temperature drops below 24 degrees I have a pipe in the water bay that freezes and will not let the cold water over to the hot water heater on the other side of the RV. I installed an outlet and a small heater and I run that heater on my generator for around 1 hour and I have running water again, During the day it will stay working and this usually only happens to me 2 or three days a year. I have been living in the RV for 4 years. I never use a campground or plug in. My propane use for the winter months costs me around $200 each month. The only thing I can say is that my water tank is between the frame rails and is boxed in with a heating duct feeding it.

SeilerBird

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 06:56:15 AM »
Motorhomes are not designed for cold weather living. Period.

wdwiv2002

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 09:04:40 AM »
@Oscar Mike and @livingthedream - thank you so much for your responses, and for your encouragement.

@Oscar - I have driven a Class A, and it is a bit big - but I kinda liked it.  I was looking for a while at Class C's, but I haven't gotten behind the wheel of one yet.  Looking forward to giving it a shot.

@livingthedream - I think what I need to keep in mind is something you hinted at... RV's can provide all sorts of adventure, and with that comes all sorts of challenges.  And it'll be up to me to be equipped with the knowledge or smarts to overcome the challenges I may encounter - like you did with the heater on your frozen pipe.  Definitely your way was better than another one I read where a guy spent hours with his wife's hair dryer trying to unfreeze a pipe :)

@SeilerBird - I think you're right for full time, but I think it's changing. Hurricane heating systems, double pained glass, winterizing options, arctic packages, and companies that bill themselves as "Four Season", and not just "Full Time", rv's (such as the Canadian manufacturer "Triple E"), indicate otherwise.  I think more and more options are coming out, and in this new era of more adventurous full-time rvers I think the options and innovations won't stop anytime soon.

There's also a fairly well known make/model that I think is out of business - a Blue Bird Wanderlodge - that is supposed to be fairly well insulated (compared to other class A coaches).  Does anyone have any experience with this make/model?

Jeff

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 09:23:24 AM »
Most OEMs do not hold out their products for full timing but that does not mean many of us haven't enjoyed doing so. Our last National Tradewinds operated without issues in temps down to 10 degrees by keeping all power and furnaces running. Winter weather requires some adapting whatever you choose.


For most of us full timing means not having to put up with the cold or extreme heat. Just put the thermometer on N or S. ;D

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 10:15:54 AM »
Technically no RV can berated for "full time living". That would be a violation of the building codes under which it is made. As soon as the manufacturer declared it to be intended for fulltime living quarters, it becomes a "mobile home" rather than a 'recreational vehicle" and has to meet much more stringent regulations. So, you won't find one that is officially rated that way.

That said, some are much better than others. Price class is a fair indicator - under-the-covers design features for cold weather use is one of the first things discarded to hold the price down. Mid and upper tier models are your best bets.  Each brand/model and even each floor plan within a model is likely to have its own foibles, e.g. a water line that runs near an exterior surface and freezes or an part of the wall that lacks adequate insulation. These are things you can compensate for in most cases, but it may take some experimentation.

Negative temps are always going to be a bit of a challenge, per livingthedream's comments. You are going to want really big propane tank onboard unless you will be in each location long enough to rent an external tank locally. Electric heat is a great supplement to propane, assuming you can find a campsite with power in that kind of weather. Most parks close down for the coldest months. If you need to live "off-grid", make sure the generator is fully capable of meeting your needs and has plenty of fuel available (avoid an LP-powered generator). You will also want a large battery bank in that case, probably 6 batteries with 600+ amp-hour capacity, rather than the 2 or 4 common inmost coaches.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 10:37:19 AM »
Motorhomes are not designed for cold weather living. Period.

I don't agree with that blanket statement. My motorhome has three heat pumps, two 20, 000 BTU high capacity propane furnaces, heated and enclosed holding tanks, an electric fireplace, and dual pane windows. Obviously some thought was given to low temperature operation. So we can do cold weather.

Can we do extreme cold weather? In a previous coach, with two lower capacity furnaces, unheated tanks, and a ceramic heater, we have done 10 degrees with heated water standpipes, and dribbling the faucets.

The more operative question, as others have noted, is whether you NEED to stay somewhere that cold. It is not our preference to be that cold for an extended period of time and we use Jeff's thermometer approach to find more tolerable weather.

I have seen some very interestingly winterized rigs but you are really standing at the edge of the envelope with the harsh weather. Once again, the question is not so much "can you do it?" as much as "do you really want to do it?". Your life, your choice, but somewhere along the line you have to think practically.
Kim & Christi Bertram
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FMCA 420913
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CarlBall

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 12:25:19 PM »
Have a look at the Triple E from Canada. They say in the manual that they will maintain 70f with the furnace alone in minus 10F weather. Or in Canadian 21 C at minus 20c. They are buit in some of the worst weather in the world so one would expect a better quality from them. To get an A you might have to buy used as they seem to have gone mostly b and C now.

Jim Godward

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 10:48:40 PM »
Check some of the Newmar MHs as some are built with a cold package.  I believe was a special order item but I have been on negative temperatures with ours for short periods and it did well.  worst case was 2+ days and nights below -30 F.  Use a LOT of propane and needed to supplement with a 750 watt heater but we were comfortable and nothing froze.

I believe the newer ones have better insulation than my old 2001.  They have brochures for many years on their web site. 
Jim
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Hillsboro, Oregon

sanway3

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 04:08:33 PM »
RV Consumer Group puts out annual listings of RVs that show their ratings and tell how they will hold up.  The books are not cheap and only cover one year's worth of units, but they are an excellent resource for finding year round living units.

Any problems you have due to cold and heat can be addressed in numerous ways, such as wrapping water pipes with insulation in cold weather, etc.

Clearly living would be easier in temperate climates, but many people can and do live year round in motor homes and trailers.  Event though they are not insulated as well as homes are, the area to heat and cool is smaller, so if you are creative, you can make it all work for you.  Good luck!

John From Detroit

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 04:44:48 PM »
DO true 4-season full time RV's exist.. Yes... However it's all in how you winterize.

For example... In the summer. you go visit somewhere like the Lake Superior shoreline.  Though you may need air conditioning, you won't need as much as you would in say, Texas.

In the winter.. Southern Texas, or South Carolina (Below 1,000 feet elevation) or Georgia or Flordia.. that's the "S" method of winterizing (Drive South).

How do I know this....

Well.. I only get as far north as Flint (base of the thumb) not the Lake Superior shore. but that is how I do it.
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Your Old Dog

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 08:23:59 AM »
I hate that "all dependds" answer but in this case, with my RV it's true.  I have as 2008 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 40' PLQ and wouldn't hesitate to live in it all year if I had to.  However, I'd stay away from the Arctic regions in the winter and extremely hot states in the summer.  Mine is insulated and does a nice job for us Spring to Fall in the North part of the country.l  It has two furnaces so we shut down the front furnace to save propane, close the bedroom door and just go with the bedroom furnace.  We also have an electric blanket for "just in case situations".  I think you simply have to make an effort to stay in moderate climates.

Here's a brochure of mine and I have to say we love it.  Spent 7 weeks in it last summer and never felt cramped with 2 cats and 1 Labrador !  Ton's of storage and pulls my full size GMC pickup with no perceptable effort that I can feel.  here's the link:  http://www.holidayrambler.com/StaticFiles/holidayrambler/brochures/2008/08ambassador.pdf

Christian51

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2013, 11:10:37 PM »
I would research Newell Coaches before you decide.   They are built on a different level than other RVs with the exception of Prevost.  I like them better than Prevost but it' personal choice.   Your budget would get you a late nineties that would out perform most new RVs in that price range.  You will need the R rating the the temps, the aircraft construction instead of glass helps a lot there, 20k gen, massive battery bank, and slide design beyond what  Prevost offers, and such quality and precision means less trouble in weather extremes.   I'd buy a 2004 Newell that is priced the same as a brand new Entegra Cornerstone because the construction is that much better.  A new Newell is now 1.7 million and a low millage 1999 just sold for one fifty here in Texas.  Least I've been sold so my company intends to purchase two of them the first of the year.   

Jeff

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2013, 10:18:58 PM »
What are part costs for a Newell?

biffidum

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2013, 10:54:41 AM »
Check out Triple E up in Canada.  They are made to withstand all climates - I mean ALL.  They have heated lines, auxiliary heaters, extra insulation, heated tanks etc...
Occam's razor
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ttmarie

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2015, 12:15:18 PM »
 8)hello we are full timers living in FL..does anyone have info on Full Time/all year on Long Island NY? We need to relocate!!!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2015, 12:35:01 PM »
I can't imagine a fulltime RV spot on Long Island. I guess they exist, but I've hard that the wait list for a site is measured in years. Maybe this will help:
http://www.discoverlongisland.com/visitors/thingsresult.aspx/minor/webcamp

As for four-season RVs, most of the upper tier brands/models from American Coach, Country Coach, Newmar & Monaco would qualify. Mid-range models from Winnebago, Tiffin, and Fleetwood are probably also adequate in terms of insulation and such. None of them are great, though. By their very nature, they neither heat nor cool evenly, and they all have some amount of exposed plumbing to deal with. With the underneath open and numerous windows & skylights, winter winds and low temperatures are a constant heat drain. People manage, but figure on high heating costs. You may also find that even parks that remain open do not have water available during the winter months. Depends on their water system.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2015, 12:53:43 PM »
About twelve years ago when we were building the prototype for the Surgery Unit I spent the winter in Chicago.

This was my solution to the Chicago winter in a motorhome.

Bill Waugh
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Now just another Lurker

rebelsun

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2015, 08:04:40 PM »
8)hello we are full timers living in FL..does anyone have info on Full Time/all year on Long Island NY? We need to relocate!!!
It's probably like trying to find a year-round marina to live in the Northeast.  Very few exist, there is a very long waiting period to get one, and once you get in, you're subject to pipes freezing, power outages, and just very miserable conditions, especially if they have a very harsh winter like the one they had last winter.

Several years ago, some friends tried to do this in Portsmouth, N.H., they barely made it through the winter, and purchased a house to live in, before the next winter came around.  They said they weren't going to go through another winter wearing coats and layers of clothing inside their "home" because they had no heat, and having to find water, because all the pipes in the facility they were staying at were frozen for days and even weeks on end.  It almost cost them their marriage, till they bought a house to move into.
Riding the Highway through Hell in our 2000 Chevy 3500 Gulfstream Class C, with a
Honda Shadow AERO motorcycle and trailer in tow.
From: Boston, Ma.
Retired and living in Palm Bay, Fl.

rebelsun

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2015, 08:13:45 PM »
About twelve years ago when we were building the prototype for the Surgery Unit I spent the winter in Chicago.

This was my solution to the Chicago winter in a motorhome.
That's the way to do it.  Camp in your RV, located inside a heated building, when you get those lake effect snowstorms!
Riding the Highway through Hell in our 2000 Chevy 3500 Gulfstream Class C, with a
Honda Shadow AERO motorcycle and trailer in tow.
From: Boston, Ma.
Retired and living in Palm Bay, Fl.

livingthedream

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2015, 10:47:17 PM »
Battle row campground in Nassau County is open all year. They have hot showers and the place is very clean. Cathy runs the place. 50 amp and 30 amp sites.

legrandnormand

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2015, 07:30:08 AM »
Just to give you my 2 cents, I don't think that any mh is a 4 season habitat, unless you snowbird south.
They are usually built with 2" wall containing 1.5" of insolation, how can you resist freezing weahter with that and how about all of your plumbling ! We have a hard time keeping it cool in the summer with 2 or 3 A/C running, imagine trying to heat that mh in - 15F ! ???
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
2010 Gulfstream Independance, model 8367
2009 Smart Cabriolet

legrandnormand

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2015, 07:32:06 AM »
Battle row campground in Nassau County is open all year. They have hot showers and the place is very clean. Cathy runs the place. 50 amp and 30 amp sites.


Can you please specify a town instead of a county ! County for us canadians is just like "large plaines and fields" !


I would have understood a "suburban" of downtown New York...
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 07:36:18 AM by legrandnormand »
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
2010 Gulfstream Independance, model 8367
2009 Smart Cabriolet

livingthedream

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2015, 10:46:55 PM »
Battle Row Campground  
Campground
Address: 1 Claremont Rd, Old Bethpage, NY 11804
Phone:(516) 572-8690


You can plug heaters in to keep your tanks from freezing. You get fill up with fresh water all winter at the bathroom hose connection.  I never owned a 4 season RV.

legrandnormand

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2015, 11:09:44 PM »
That is the proper info for the ones that need it.
Thanks
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
2010 Gulfstream Independance, model 8367
2009 Smart Cabriolet

PatrioticStabilist

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Re: Four Season/Full Time RV's - Do they really exist?
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2015, 09:44:13 AM »
I certainly haven't lived in it but my old 92 American Eagle isn't bad.  I was in some 15 degree temperatures running ahead of a snowstorm coming home a couple of years ago.  The wind was horrible and cold and I stayed at a campground in Oklahoma and some other wide open places.  I kept it warm with the 2 furnaces and ran a couple of electric heaters that turned off and on.  But my bays are heated so nothing froze.  I also kept it warm with furnaces and 1 electric heater while driving, I'm sure the front heater wouldn't have kept it warm enough. I did unhook the water line at night and used from my water tank.  I kept it in the 70's but I have no slides and its 12 ft high instead of 13.  I certainly couldn't complain. It does not have dual pane windows and if it did would likely been even warmer.  I bet some of the new ones would be better.