Class A or Class C?

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stevemc

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I realize this is probably the age old question so I apologize if it's repetitious.
I'm looking at an '03 Coachman Mirada 300QB and an '04 Four Winds 31P.  Both low usage and look new inside & out. Both have less than 10,000 miles. Both have the Ford V10, 4K Onan generator and all the normal accessories.  Neither has leveling jacks. The Four Winds has a large 14' slide out that probably gives it a little more living space.  I can buy either for $38 - 40,000.  Which would be the best for a first time coach owner, using it mostly on weekends, and a couple of week long trips a year. I'd like to pull a Jeep Liberty behind it also.  It'll usually be just my wife and myself but sometimes our two small grandkids will be with us.
Which one would you recommend and why.  Thanks for all your help.  Steve
 

Houseofarticcats

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Having had both and now a 5er.. Hummm I would say the A.. But they both have there +'s and    -'s... You will need to make a list....
 

Wendy

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We had a 24' Class C and enjoyed every minute in it. However, we love our 28' Class A even more. The Class A has more living space even without the slide-out (which I wouldn't give up for anything). It feels more 'open' without the cabover. It drives better and isn't blown around as much in the wind. For just the 2 of us and the dog, the Class A is the hands down winner. If we traveled a lot with kids, we'd probably opt for the Class C. Class C got about 7 mpg, the Class A gets around 9 mpg.

Hope this helps.
 

Shayne

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10 to 1  it's been a rental unit.  No Jacks is the best indication.  Me< I'd run from both, others may disagree, but it's like sleeping in a motel bed, you don;'t know who used it and how, compared to sleeping in your own bed, knowing how it was taken care of.  But they sell them to someone, cause they sure go thru a bunch.  Chances are you'll have lots of repairs starting with shocks, with no jacks they get wear that isn't highway use and it makes a difference.  Also you donb;'t know how it was serviced and driven. That's just MHO
 

stevemc

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Wendy, Why would you prefer the class C for traveling with kids?  Thanks, Steve
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Assuming equivalent lengths and floor plans (sleeping arangements, etc.) I would opt for a Class A every time.  Generally speaking, an A will have a better driving position, more interior space, more exterior storage space, and usually a more robust chassis (but a few  C's are bult on a medium track chassis too).  I can't think of a single advantage that a C has over an A - they are NOT cheaper, easier to drive, better handling or anything else.  In my opinion, the popularity of a C is solely based on the fact that it seems more familiar (car-like), but that is mostly an illusion.

If they are rental units as Shayne surmises, I too would be very leery of purchasing one.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Hi Steve:

Over an 11 year period I have been the gauntlet on rigs -- looking for the perfect ride (for me). I began with a 29' Class A, then a Travel Trailer, then a 5th Wheel, a Class C, and am now in a 34' Class A. With the Class A, I feel for the first time a real contentment and not the feeling that this ride is temporary.

However, the reason there a many Classes and Types is that personal needs are different. I'm a full timer and live and run a business out of my rig--so space is important. The most popular rental unit is the 24' Class C. That is because it is about the easiest to drive, and will sleep more bodies. With a couch, a dinette, and the cab-over, they advertise sleeping 8 bodies. Of course, 2 each in the converted dinette or couch probably assumes smaller children vs. adults.

The ease of driving thing "is" an allusion as Gary points out. My first time driving an RV was a rental Class C. I was delighted because having driven a van, it was about the same. When I first drove a Class A, I was very apprehensive. However, sitting in and moving in and out of the cramped confines of the Class C cab quickly gets old. The Class A driving area is much more open, the windows allow greater visibility -- and I soon realized that I was no wider in the A than I had been in a C. That "is" an illusion. Some enjoy sitting higher when driving, other prefer sitting closer to the road. If this is the case, you will sit about a foot lower in a C.

Probably the most important thing to me is openness and room to move around--and to see your environment while parked. In a Class C, you must bend over to look out of the front window, whereas in a Class A, the front window becomes a picture window instead. I tell friends now that I live in a room vs. an aisle. So my advise is to not buy an RV that two occupants cannot pass each other without touching. Most who do not have a slide will finally wind up with one if they stay with RVing. However, a slide in a Class C, to me, is putting a bandage on a space problem vs. buying a Class A in the first place.

With under 10k miles I doubt they are former rentals. Rental agencies like to keep rigs up to 30-40k to amortize the huge initial cost and depreciation. They can offset initial maintenance costs with rental income, but not the 1st few years of depreciation.

Up until this past spring when I got into my Class A, I did not have Jacks. That became a biggy with me having spent 10 years leveling my rigs with 2x6's -- in all types of weather. I was usually not lucky enough that the front was evenly higher -- but rather one quadrant was alway higher or lower -- so different amounts of wood were required on adjacent wheels.

Steve, good luck in your choice. My advice would be to continue looking for a Class A with a slide and jacks. Also, try each Class out by renting on a weekend. A bit expensive, but if it gets you into the right one, it could save you many dollars down the line.
 

Shayne

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After 50 yrs of camping in everything from open ground and tents to Class A and every thing in between with the exception of 5ver, I see no advantage to anything over a Class A.  No way shape or form.  Now I can see buying 2,3, or 4 or more Campers scattered thoughout the country and just driving a car to and froe, but that's the only way, for me personally. The others just don't measure up in any form or matter.  JMHO
 

scottydl

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RV Roamer said:
I can't think of a single advantage that a C has over an A - they are NOT cheaper, easier to drive, better handling or anything else.

You guys are convincing, maybe I shouldn't limit my search to a Class C.  ;)  But in response to that comment above, it seems that many class C's are much cheaper when it comes maintenance than a Class A would be.  C's are essentially vans as far as chassis and engine are concerned so anyone will work on them... not just an RV dealer (who will inflate prices like any dealer).  16" or 16.5" tires seem to be waaaay lower in price than the 22.5" (or so) monsters on many large Class A's.  I'd much rather spend $500 than $1200 every 5 years for tires.  Is there any truth to these things, or have I made incorrect assumptions in this research phase I'm in?
 

Bob Buchanan

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scottydl said:
16" or 16.5" tires seem to be waaaay lower in price than the 22.5" (or so) monsters on many large Class A's.? I'd much rather spend $500 than $1200 every 5 years for tires.? Is there any truth to these things, or have I made incorrect assumptions in this research phase I'm in?

Class A's come in many sizes. I would assume you would be comparing "comparable" Class A's to C's in a potential RV. I can't afford a larger pusher, nor could I afford the maintenance. My selection of a Class A in place of my '98 Tioga 29' Class C was confined to comparable models. I now have a '96 Winny Adventurer with 14' slide and jacks, plus other goodies. It cost me less than the Tioga that I bought used over 4 years ago. The tires on the Adventurer Ford chassis are 16" -- and I would expect to pay around $500. or so for replacements when needed.

As far as other maintenance, I would not imagine much difference. However, I do have a slide and jacks now so am dealing with the hydraulics that I did not have in the Tioga. But then, if one has a slide and jacks in a Class C, the maintenance cost there would be about the same. Other than the chassis, the stuff in a Class C is about the same as a "comparable" Class A -- frig, furnace, converter, water heater, and so forth.

So my choice of a Class A over a C was?not at all based on initial or maintenance costs - but on the other items mentioned in my post.

BTW -- how is your hunting going? I'm always a little let down after a purchase -- because then I don't have reason to look anymore.? :)

 

Shayne

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Scotty  Just remember one thing,  99% of the RVs will probably agree A large unit is far better to drive, ride, relax in, and store things in.  My theory is Bigger is better.  Most people keep getting larger units as years go by.  A few don't but that's seldom. 
 

Wendy

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stevemc said:
Wendy, Why would you prefer the class C for traveling with kids?? Thanks, Steve

Hi Steve.

Most Class As seem to be made for couples. Our Class A has a queen bed and a dinette that converts to a very small double bed, big enough for a couple of kids if they get along, or a single adult (my sister, who is 5'2" and 110 pounds barely had enough room to sleep on ours). Of course, once you set up the dinette into a bed, the adults might as well go to bed, too, since the kids would be right in the middle of the living area. Same would be true if you had a sofa bed in the living area.

With the Class C, you have the cabover bed which, on our Coachman, was a full queen. The Class C also had a corner bed. You could stick the kids in bed in the cabover (which they think is really cool), close the drapes, and still sit at the dinette playing games or watching TV. And the dinette could be made into a bed if you needed more space.



 

scottydl

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Bob Buchanan said:
BTW -- how is your hunting going? I'm always a little let down after a purchase -- because then I don't have reason to look anymore.  :)

Kinda having a hard time finding what I want, close to where I am... but perhaps my standards are high.  My wife and I don't have a LOT of cash to spend (compared to the wide array of MH prices out there... we are not taking out a loan) so that of course limits our options too.  But the longer I look the more money we can save though, so it's not all bad that we haven't found "the one" yet.  ;)  My list of possibilities is also about to double in size, if I start seriously considering Class A's also!  I have noticed the constant recommendation toward A's from members here, and I'm still trying to figure out what will work best for our family (my wife and I, and two boys ages 5 and 2).
 

Tom

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The cabover bed that Wendy mentioned is one good reason for buying a class C when you have kids.

FWIW our prior 30 foot Pace Arrow class A had 4 places for folks to sleep:

Master bed.
Queen sofabed.
Covertible dinette.
Bed that swung down from the ceiling above the driver/passenger seats.
 

scottydl

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Tom said:
Bed that swung down from the ceiling above the driver/passenger seats.

Are these really practical beds?  I'll admit all I've ever seen of them is photos, but they don't look very sturdy and a co-worker of mine (had an '83 Allegro Class A) said he was positive his would have collapsed if he ever tried to get in it.  Plus he said there would only be about 2 inches of space between his nose and the ceiling, haha!
 

Tom

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scottydl said:
Are these really practical beds?

I assumed they'd only be good for kids to sleep in. We used ours for storage of lightweight stuff (extra bedding, fishing poles, etc.)
 

chaajoad

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I bought our MH knowing it was a rental unit - why would that be considered something to avoid? Better than a MH that sits most of the year, isn't it? Ours seems extremely well maintained. To me, buying anything used is a crap shoot any way you look at it. BTW - why wouldn't rental units have jacks? Too complicated to use? Besides, for the average RV'er, how often would you absolutely need them? I think most of our travels will be to established parks, etc. - not a lot in the boondocks.
 

Bob Buchanan

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>> I bought our MH knowing it was a rental unit - why would that be considered something to avoid? Better than a MH that sits most of the year, isn't it?
====

If you know the rental agency, it may very well be a better RV than from a dealer or private party. If a reputable agency, they will make sure it receives all of it's scheduled maintenance right on time whereas you may not have a clue from a dealer rig or private party. Many rentals are actually owned by private parties -- and require top of line commercial insurance.

In those cases, the rental agency is merely the broker. It also keeps the inventory costs of the agency down. The title is in the hands of the owner, and the owner expects the unit to be properly maintained. That is part of the agreement. Many RV buyers go this route to avoid the high depreciation costs over the 1st 2 years of ownership.? At the end of two years, they either refinance the unit and drive it home, or have the rental agency sell it for them -- then, they purchase another unit.

>> BTW - why wouldn't rental units have jacks? Too complicated to use? Besides, for the average RVer, how often would you absolutely need them? I think most of our travels will be to established parks, etc. - not a lot in the boondocks.
====

You will not find Jacks on most rentals because the probability of having them trashed is too high. One solenoid replacement is around $300 or so. The agency that sponsored my first rig for about 8 months took better care of it than I would have. They first removed the cigarette lighter and replaced it with a No Smoking sign, removed the awning, the coffee maker, the hub caps, locked the trailer hitch, and removed the roof ladder.

My parking as a full timer over the past 10 years has been 90% in RV parks or parking lots. In those, I had to level with 2X6's 90% of the time. When I boon dock in places like QZ, I never have to level. So you never know.

What type of rental unit did you buy??
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Reasons to avoid most rental units:
(1) The uses are newbies to RVing and tend to abuse the equipment, either from ignorance or the fact that they are returning it in 1-2 weks anyway. I say this because of both conjecture about the typical rental customer and observation of many rental rigs in camprounds.
(2) Some rental companies do minimal maintenance and simply plan on re-selling in the rig in 1-2 years. They like to be able to advertise that they rent late model units and avoid costly repairs as well.

That doesn't mean there are no good rental units, but the odds would not seem to be in your favor.  I would much rather find a well cared for rig in a private sale.
 

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