Best Length For A Fulltime?

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gc24

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What would be the most comfortable length for fulltiming it? I have heard that you need something above 30' and that 40' may be just too hard to drive and overkill, but don't want something too small that I am cramped with two people and a dog.
 

Jim Dick

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gc24 said:
What would be the most comfortable length for fulltiming it? I have heard that you need something above 30' and that 40' may be just too hard to drive and overkill, but don't want something too small that I am cramped with two people and a dog.

Hi  GC24,

Over 30' is a definite! A 40' is no harder to drive than a 30' but you will not be able to enjoy some State and Federal forests. Some have a length restriction even though, in many cases, there is no need for it. We started with a 34' coach and now live full time in a 40' American Dream. I would not want anything smaller but others have been able to live in smaller units. Slideouts make the living more comfortable. We have one and it is sufficient for us. With a large dog I would think at least one slideout in the living area would be required.

Once you become accustomed to the length of the rig you will be very comfortable driving it. I would much rather drive my 40' coach than our car!! :) With the IFS front ends many coaches turn very quickly. This makes it much easier to maneuver. We have been full timing for 8 1/2 years and still enjoy every minute of it! We feel it's the only way to see this great country of ours.



 

gc24

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Ok, so with a price limit that is for only a 31' MH, I would be pushing it? Also, Can a 31' with a 454 Chevy pull a 98 Dodge Durango ok?
 

Tom

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gc24 said:
Can a 31' with a 454 Chevy pull a 98 Dodge Durango ok?

You really need to look at the coach specs to determine that, but I used to tow a full size Bronco with our 29 foot Pace Arrow on a Chevy P30 chassis with a 454 engine. Here's an example of the (simple) towing capacity calculation using the numbers for our Monaco. The numbers for your coach will be on a plaque near the driver's seat &/or on a label stuck to the inside of one of the cabinets:

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating):  42,800 lbs
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating):      32,800 lbs
Towing capacity:                                  10,000 lbs

This assumes that you do not exceed the GVWR with the weight of the coach, water, provisions, people and any other stuff. It also assumes that the hitch on the back of your coach is rated above whatever you'll be towing (mine happens to be rated at 10,000 lbs).
 

Jim Dick

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gc24 said:
Ok, so with a price limit that is for only a 31' MH, I would be pushing it? Also, Can a 31' with a 454 Chevy pull a 98 Dodge Durango ok?

If you really get along well you could full time in just about anything. The problem will be storage and lack of space to move around freely inside the coach. Payload can be another problem as full timers take most of what they own with them. I would think a minimum payload should be in the 3000lb range. It's better to have too much than too little.

I certainly would not say don't do it. The fact that you are able to travel and see some fabulous country makes up for some discomfort. :) I would try it before deciding to "sell the farm" and hit the road.

This is the place to keep asking questions and formulating your plan. Hopefully many here will help get you on the road to adventure. :)



 

gc24

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Jim Dick: Thanks for the info. I think we may try it for about six months and keep our house as a rental just in case. Yea, the wife takes everything but the kitchen sink. I would have to throttle her back a bit.
Tom: I believe the Dodge Durango weighs 2900 lbs. so I would think that its ok?
 

BernieD

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gc24 said:
Tom: I believe the Dodge Durango weighs 2900 lbs. so I would think that its ok?

GC24 (funny name ;D)

I think you are off at least 1,000#s. The '98 Durango had a GCWR of 6,400#s, usually there is only 1-2,000#s of load capacity, so the Durango should weigh somewhere around 4,500#s. Jeeps and my XTerra are in the 4-4,500# category and they should weigh less than the Durango.
 

gc24

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Probably right. I copied this from the spec sheet off the net.

- Weights: gross vehicle weight rating (kg) 2,937, curb weight (kg) 2,127, gross trailer weight braked (kg) 1,950 and max legal load (kg) 811
 

Jim Dick

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gc24 said:
Jim Dick: Thanks for the info. I think we may try it for about six months and keep our house as a rental just in case. Yea, the wife takes everything but the kitchen sink. I would have to throttle her back a bit.
Tom: I believe the Dodge Durango weighs 2900 lbs. so I would think that its ok?

Gc,

There's a rule you must follow: for every item brought on board, one must be removed. Of course, this is after you have it loaded for travel. :) Every so often you should take a look at what you have on board. If you haven't used it in 6 months, you probably don't need it. :)

 

gc24

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Thanks for the info. Are sideouts that big of a deal.? In other words, do you have to have hem?
 

quapaw

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Slides are wonderful for extra living area, handy if they are in the kitchen area and worthwhile (IMHO) in the bedroom area.  Make sure you can utilize any area with slides in, such at the bathroom, kitchen area mainly.  Many of us stop for meals on the road and you, or at least me, don't want to put the slides out for lunch in a rest area.  They do require a bit more maintenance and precautions before extending them but in my opinion for full timing or extended vacations, they are worthwhile. 
 

Jim Dick

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gc24 said:
Thanks for the info. Are sideouts that big of a deal.? In other words, do you have to have hem?

A coach without a slide today will probably not have a very good resale value. We have one slide which is enough for us. Many manufacturers are putting in 4 slides. That will make the usability of the coach very difficult if you cannot put them out. Of course, it gives you the most space inside when they are out. I would say you should have at least one slide in the living area. For us a bedroom slide is not essential since we only use it basically to sleep.
 

Jackliz

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What would be the most comfortable length for fulltiming it? I have heard that you need something above 30' and that 40' may be just too hard to drive and overkill, but don't want something too small that I am cramped with two people and a dog.

Howdy, GC24.

Our first fulltiming motorhome was a 38' Serengeti and we thought that 38' was enough. Then my DH hinted that maybe he would like a bus. So now we live in a 40' Bluebird Wanderlodge bus. And actually that additional 2 feet is nice. The Serengeti didn't have a slide and our Wanderlodge doesn't have one. Why? We didn't want a slide nor any of the potential problems that slides might have. We are in the minority on this opinion but that's OK.

As for driving 40', I don't find it hard to handle. Hope this helps.  :)  :)

Regards,
Liz
 

Karl

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I'm single (if you don't count a 2-month old, yet-to-be-named kitten), drive a 38+' Fleetwood Bounder, and would feel crowded in anything less than a 34'. Mine doesn't have a slide either, but it's an ultra(extra?)wide 102" and plenty spacious without the slide, but one for the LR would be nice.

You quickly adapt to driving a large vehicle, but it does require some extra caution over that of a car, especially when you have several feet of MH hanging out over the rear axle. Difference between driving a 30-34' vs. a 36-40'? Probably not much.

Last weekend, a race team showed up with their big-rig diesel hauler and a 36' MH. Primary resident of the MH was a 170lb Great Pyrenees! Had 2 fans for cooling him and a LARGE dish (think washtub) of ice water. I think he occasionally let the owners occupy one of the beds at night... ;D 
 

gc24

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Thanks for all of the info. Now for the nightmare today. I went to look at a 31' Southwind 1986. The owner is a Certified mechanic and when I show up after driving 2 hours to see it, its in a stoarge yard and he hasen't been there for 2 months. Batteries are all dead, had to wait to jump it, cow webs in the coach, it finally gets started and  the generator shuts off as the gas gauge read low. He then parks it and shts off the engine which starts to deisel as the timing is probably off a bit. Did I mention that he is a mechanic? I didn't even offer him anything. Very discouraged, I left. He put in a pillowtop queen matress and I don't care for the sleeping width-wise in the back of the coach. Could walk around the bed. Now the question is what years and which companies are good for used coaches. Its looks like a 33-34 foot would be nice for a fulltime.
 

Tom

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gc24 said:
I went to look at a 31' Southwind 1986.

FWIW that vintage of Fleetwood products (Southwind, Pace Arrow) had what I would consider a serious design flaw in their roof. The entire roof area was bounded by a seam that ran the entire periphery of the roof and created a large area for standing water. The very long seam was prone to leaking and, in the case of my 1985 Pace Arrow, caused the enitre roof to delaminate. I refused to accept any money for the coach when I "traded" it for our current coach and I listed the leaking roof and collateral damage when I transferred it to the dealer for the obligatory $1. I really had no desire to pass on a problem to an unsuspecting buyer.
 

gc24

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So, I would guess Southwind would not be a good choice then. How about an older Beaver?
 

gc24

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I was considering a 34' Southwind for $9000.00, but not sure that's a good price or not.
 
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