Driver Side Door is it just nice or a safety factor?

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chugman

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We would like a driver side door in a new motorhome, but wonder how important is it? It seems like it would have to be very handy and convenient for tollway booths and getting gas and etc. The other factor is if there is an accident and the MH ends up laying on it's right side, how do you get out? I think that I read that some or most have some kind of bedroom window escape, but wouldn't that be hard to get out?

Most non special ordered motorhomes seem to not have this optional piece of equipment and I am assuming that it is impossible or very expensive to try to add one to an existing motorhome.
 

Betty Brewer

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chugman said:
We would like a driver side door in a new motorhome, but wonder how important is it? It seems like it would have to be very handy and convenient for tollway booths and getting gas and etc.

Our first class A motorhome was a Winnebago Vectra.? It had the drivers side door which we thought it was? a wonderful thing that we could not live? without.? When? we bought another motorhome without it,? we never ever missed it.? I, too would have thought the convenience for fuel stops was a plus but you get out on the right side and go around.? No big deal.? Escapee windows are required in all motorhomes and I think it would be easier to kick out a window than to kick open a door.? I would never ever try to put in a door after market.? Something about the integrity and structure? of the walls.

Most toll booths are so narrow you get close enough to pay with only a window on the drivers side.? I think the drivers side door is a bonus if the rest of the RV is what you want, but I would not go looking for one? with that feature over the? benefits of other goodies.? Just my opinion
Betty Brewer
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Art,

My opinion is a driver's door is a source of wind noise and possible leaks. In an 8 1/2' wide motor home the door would most likely be too high for anyone to reach if the coach was laying on the passenger side. Even if you could reach it you most likely wouldn't be able to open it.

For fueling I doubt many ever use the driver's door. I have been in and out of a lot of coaches with them and they have all been, at best, difficult to enter and exit. The foot holds are usually recessed and you really need to be careful when trying to exit as you normally can't see where to place your feet.

I would suggest you try several coaches with doors and see how easy it is for you to use. Remember, the older we get the less agile we become. :)



 

Tom

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We had a Pace Arrow with a driver's side door. When we bought it we thought it was a must-have. In practice I only used it when I pulled up to a dump station - because the the dump valves were on that side of the coach. The fuel fill was on the other side and I automatically went out the center door on that side of the coach when we pulled up to the gas pump. Other times I aways used the center door.

I still considered the driver side door a safety feature, until I just read Jim's message.
 

Jim Dick

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Tom,

It might still be somewhat of a safety feature if you need to get out, vehicle is upright, and the other door is blocked. It's not worth it to me as our other door, like yours is up front as well. :) I believe Betty is right when she says it would be easier to kick out of window.

 

Tom

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Jim

I must remember to call Betty when I need a window kicked out. OTOH she might turn up with a baseball bat  ;D
 

Betty Brewer

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Tom said:
I must remember to call Betty when I need a window kicked out. OTOH she might turn up with a baseball bat? ;D

Hey , don't you? guys travel with a saftey crow bar under all of the windows?? The saftey seminars all say to have a practice "fire drill" but I have been unwilling to kick out my windows for a drill. AND I don't do house calls. :)
Betty
 

Tom

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Betty Brewer said:
don't you  guys travel with a saftey crow bar under all of the windows?

Oh no, not more stuff I have to carry on the coach! I suppose that all-toysnstuff Terry also has a fire axe on board.
 

Woody

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Mar 10, 2005
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I have a drivers door on my Pace Arrow and I DO use it, mainly when at fuel stops, but other times as well.
I have a strong steel step ring located below the door and have no trouble finding it with my foot. When I get back in I hold onto the steering wheel with my left and a steel ring on the right that is just behind the seat.
The exercise keeps my legs in shape. Also, it is almost a necessity when operating the hydraulic jack levers which are located between the seat and the door on the floor. I just open the door and stand outside where I can see the bubble levels and level the coach up.

Woody
 

Jim Dick

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Betty Brewer said:
Hey , don't you  guys travel with a saftey crow bar under all of the windows?  The saftey seminars all say to have a practice "fire drill" but I have been unwilling to kick out my windows for a drill. AND I don't do house calls. :)
Betty

Large 2 liter fire extinquisher will do the trick. :)

We don't even test some of the emergency windows in RVs. Seems like some of them aren't hinged and will fall out. :eek:

 

Terry A. Brewer

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Jim

>>Do you have a chainsaw like George???<<

I do...but leave it up in Idaho now.


Terry
At Clark Fork, ID
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I had a driver side door in our Southwind. Found it to be pretty much useless - awkward to enter or exit.  I think I used when I installed an indicator light for my toad brake - it was a conveninet way to get at the underside of the dashboard.  The driver's window is sufficient for toll booths and such (you don't want to get out of your vehicler there anyway).

All RVs are required to have two entry/exits for safety and the second one is usually a window that pushes out or slides wide enough for an adult to crawl through.  That second exit will be there whether the rig has a driver door or not.
 

kendall

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Jul 19, 2005
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My Fleetwood Coronado has no driver side door, and It bothers me to know that if we were under weigh and a fire should break out in the kitchen, we wouldn't be able to get to the side door, or the rear escape window.
I would probably be able to kick the windshield out, but it is a long way to the ground!
 

KarenD

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Aug 30, 2005
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Westchester County, NY
Our Pace Arrow has the driver door and my husband uses it almost all the time. Very rarely will he use the center door when we are on the road.
Recently the power window motor went and until he gets around to fixing it, he had to open the door at tolls to pay. But then again, without a door, I guess you would have a sliding window?

*edit...I just noticed I spelled "tolls" as "tools". All fixed. :)
 

Jim Dick

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Karen,

Unfortunately you don't always have a sliding window if you don't have a door. We have an electric window but no door. I did have a failure once but didn't have an emergency at the same time. I say if a driver's door makes you more comfortable then get one. Most of our windows are easily opened and large enough to jump out if necessary. One does have to remember that first step is a big one! :)
 

chugman

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Suburban Chicago
Thanks to everyone for their replies. We finally bit the bullet and bought a 2005 Winnebago Adventurer with a driver side door. We probably will not use it as much as I thought but it makes me feel good that it is there. This particular model has better steps and grab rails to make it easier to access than the others that I have seen. There are two steps on the outside and a long grab rail. The side door wasn't a deal breaker but it did add to the list of positive features that we were looking for and made the decision easier for us.

 

Ron

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Home is where we park it
Congratulations on your purchase of the 2005 Winnebago Adventurer.  I'm sure you will have many enjoyable trips in it.  Can you post a photo for us?
 

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