decision points on RV's

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charioteer

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Hi folks.  My wife and I are considering buying our first RV, so we have a few questions.  I think a motorhome will best suit our needs.

1. Although we were looking mostly at class c, there are quite a few motorhomes, A or C whose size ranges overlap.  So, I guess I want to know: If I had to choose between two nearly identical motorhomes which were class C or class A, what would be the main differences?

2.  Related to that first question: Although the class C has a smaller profile heading into the wind, most class A moterhomes look a little more aerodynamic, so is there usually much difference in Gas mileage?

3.  What kind of capacities should I look for to allow for two days boondocking with prudential but not severe use of services?

4.  I probably won't be looking for something so small it will fit in my garage, but some sizes would start to infringe on other on-road activities such as using ATM's or fast food drive-throughs.  Any thoughts on that?

Thanks, Rex.
 

Tom

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Rex,

One significant difference between a Class A and a class C is that the front cab in a class C isolates you from the passengers while driving and that space is also lost when you arrive at a campground. With a class A you're not isolated while driving and the front seats swivel to become part of the living area.

I'll let someone else comment on the relative fuel consumption.

Most class A and C units will have more than sufficient capacity for water and waste to last two days for two people.

Forget the ATM and drive-through with either style of motorhome.
 

Shayne

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Personally I wouldn't hesitate about which  It would be the A hands down.  As for mileage, 5 to 11mph.  My unit 6 to 7.5 is normal.  Been as low as 4 and as high as 8.5mph.  My theory is these are trucks and milage goes out the window.  You know that going in, so If you can't afford the gas or deisel, don't buy a unit.  Diesel may get a hair more in mileage, but then your initial investment, unit for unit, is 15 to 30K $ more.  It's what you can afford and desire.  good luck
 

charioteer

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I had also been investigating the really small rv's such as the rialta and the lesharo, but many have commented on how underpowered they are.  Plus some have reported service issues.  I suppose mpg is really important, but not at the expense of saftey or sanity.
 

Mblaster

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I have a 94 24 ft tioga C class with a 460 and I got 7.9 mpg towing my boat to Havasu with dash a/c blasting.
Without the boat I get almost 10mpg.

C's you can sleep a lot of people in a small space with the cabover bed.
A's you will probably get leveling jacks which is super nice.

Now I'm ready for a 35 ft A.

I'm also glad I had a C as a starter because I've learned a lot with it and had fun fixing it up.
The jump to a big gas A seems the natural progression, then on to a DP. ;D?
 

charioteer

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I would also like to know:  does anyone know when motorhomes of the gasoline variety went to mostly fuel injection.  I want to limit my searches to years that have only fuel injection.  Thanks.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Class A's start at about 26 feet and offer more interior room and more "basement" storage than most class C's of any size. An A will generally have a more robust chassis too - it will be built on a medium duty truck chassis, whereas a C is generally built on a light duty van chassis. Some C's are built on diesel powered, medium duty truck chassis, e..g the Jayco Senaca or the Gulfstream Endura diesel.

I get the feeling you are looking at smaller rigs, possible 20-24 feet, and not planning on towing a  car behind.  That would not be my choice for the way to travel, but to each his own.  A "C" in that range may allow you to drive up to an ATM or stop in a convenience store for a loaf of bread. Rigs of 28 feet or more generally will not be practical for this.  Fuel mileage of 7.5-8.5 mpg is probably about all you can expect in any of these motorhomes.  The frontal profile of an A vs C is not a significant factor. A "B" van may be better, though.  And there are so-called B+ vans that are really just small C's - no signficant difference.

Any of these types will do two days of boondocking if your power conumption is modest. Since you are not already Rvers, you have no waying of knowing what your power demand will be. Even with shore power available, an RV has less power available than a typical home or apartment, so you should expect to re-adjust your expectations somewhat. Ditto for water consumption - no long showers or running the water in the sink while doing dishes.  Most Class A have larger tanks than most Class C's, but that is not written in stone. You just have to check each model you look at.
 

Mblaster

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charioteer said:
I would also like to know:? does anyone know when motorhomes of the gasoline variety went to mostly fuel injection.? I want to limit my searches to years that have only fuel injection.? Thanks.
My 94 has FI
 

Bob Zambenini

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charioteer said:
I would also like to know:  does anyone know when motorhomes of the gasoline variety went to mostly fuel injection.  I want to limit my searches to years that have only fuel injection.  Thanks.

I had a 1990 Chevy on P30 chassis and it was one of the early ones with Fuel Injection. I drove it 65000 miles over 9 years and pulled most of the big mountain passes in the West.

Bob
 

scottydl

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Shayne said:
Personally I wouldn't hesitate about which  It would be the A hands down. 

I think that totally depends on charioteer's needs.  Why do you want a Class C with the cabover bed (the main feature difference)?  Will you be camping with children and need the extra sleeping capacity?  That's our main reason for shopping for a C, plus I've read that they're a bit easier/cheaper to maintain since (mechanically) they are essentially a van and not a bus.  A Class C compared to a Class A of the same size will often sleep up to 6 people instead of 4.  But the Class A has more open space and everything is a bit bigger (the rear bed, the bathroom/shower, etc.) than a Class C.  I have found that to be somewhat of a paradox... that the bigger class of motorhome (A) almost always sleeps fewer people.  They seem to be designed for the retired couple moreso than the traveling family.

Class A's seem to fall in the 5-9 mpg range, while Class C's might be a couple more mpg's.  But there are a lot of factors there too, mainly the terrain you'll be traveling and whether or not you'll be towing anything.

I believe that the Ford 460 (the engine that MANY Class C's have) came out with fuel injection in the 1989-1990 model years.

I've picked up this info just from talking to campers I know and scouring these forums for a couple weeks.  There's a lot of great info here!  ;D
 

Woody

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Bob Zambenini said:
I had a 1990 Chevy on P30 chassis and it was one of the early ones with Fuel Injection. I drove it 65000 miles over 9 years and pulled most of the big mountain passes in the West.

Bob

Hi Bob,

That's strange. My 93 454 on P30 chassis has a four barrel throttle body carb.

Woody
 

chaajoad

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I'm a real new Class A owner - in fact, we've yet to spend an overnight in it. Just several day trips, getting used to all the stuff to learn, how to drive it, etc. Still, I have a few things you might want to consider that influenced our decision.

It's already been mentioned that the driver & co-captain seat swivel and become part of the living room. But what an A has that no C does is an unobstructed view through a BIG windshield that is truly magnificent. When you're in nice surroundings, it's almost like a travelling IMAX theater - my wife was captivated.

The other thing is the cab sleep-over compartment. This is just my opinion but after checking a few out, I felt too claustrophobic to enjoy it. Our 8 year old - without any prompting - also said he didn't want to sleep up there. We don't make major buying decisions based on our 8 year old's preferences - but none of us looked forward to climbing up there when we could have a bunch of head room.

To me, a good-sized Class A is like a rolling apartment - some are big enough to be a condo.

Mileage also depends on driving habits. I think if a driver insists on putting a foot in it up every hill, mpg will suffer no matter what rig you purchase.

Whichever way you go, it's a brave new world. So far, I'm really enjoying. Every time I look outside, I can't believe that beast beside the house is ours.

 

Shayne

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Lot of lost sprace witht he cab on a Class C.  Also the frame on a C is  strictly a Van E 300 or E 400.  Whereas the frame on the A is much sturdier and built for the RV not adapted to it.  More storage in an A and if you've ever traveled a lot Storage can be a major factor.  In the past many of the C's where top heavy.  Also vision in an A is for superior to C's.  That's my opinion and I've had both and been RVing since the 60's.  I'd never go back to smaller units even in my old age.  Same as a stick unit.  You increase throughout the years.  A unit is never big enough for many of us.  Why do you think they build so many different units?  It's for different needs, and they know the new and larger ones or going to continue to sell.  If they weren't I'd probably still be driving my 1st big 19ft Winnibego.  That was a class A.
 

charioteer

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Thanks to all who have been responding.  I have been traveling on business lately and only checked this thread today.  My kids are grown but we are not retired yet, so there is no need for extra sleeping, and we won't be full timing yet.  Our wants are for a vehicle that would have two major uses.  My wife has an art business and we would be traveling to art shows for short trips.  the cabover bunk could be used for storing framed art, lying flat.  However the class C's without the cabover look a little more aerodynamic.  The other use would be for trips where we are on the way to somewhere else and not usually staying somewhere (like in a campground) for weeks at a time.  It is also as a proving ground to see whether we would like to be doing living in an rv for extended periods of time.  I suppose the plan is to get something used, and not too big so that we don't lose too much money if we need to bail out of a lifestyle we didn't know we wouldn't like, and then later, at retirement, buy the appropriate, newer, rv for the different lifestyle.

I had also considered the class A's because of so many people raving about how glad they are that they went to that.  also, I had noticed that in the age ranges I have been looking at (1985 to 2000) that the prices of a lot of class A's come down to within a reasonble comparison with the class C's.  The only problem in either case is finding a place to park it, and how nimbly it handles.  I have lots of land, but it is mostly uncleared right now.  I have been exploring the Rialta's.  They look really nice and aerodynamic and fits the need for something small and maneuverable.  However, I haven't been in one yet, so they could be too small.  They seem to be a little hard to find nearby, and their resale value has held up to where, pricewise, I could get something a bit larger for the same price.  I also have heard of insufficient power problems for the older ones.  Thanks again.
 

scottydl

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charioteer said:
However the class C's without the cabover look a little more aerodynamic.

I didn't know there was such a thing as a Class C without a cabover bed/storage...?  Do you have a photo of that kind of Class C?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I suppose the plan is to get something used, and not too big so that we don't lose too much money if we need to bail out of a lifestyle we didn't know we wouldn't like, and then later, at retirement, buy the appropriate, newer, rv for the different lifestyle.

Good plan!!!  ;)

What you are looking at, no cab over,  is basically a Class B rather than a C, essentially an enlarged van.  There is also what is called a B+ or B-Tour, which is a hybrid somewher between B & C.  Here's the model that is the namesake for the B+ Tour, the Gulfstream BT Cruiser  Pretty small for most of us, but maybe OK for what you have in mind.

I don't think aerodynamics are much different on any of these - they are all crappy. Just too much frontal area to do much with.
 

Jeff

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Gary:
There are several Class C's like the Chinook RV that do not have a bed overhead but use the space for storage or electronics. probably would be perfect for storing art.
 

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