Experienced RV'rs Needed For Survey to help first time buyer...

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New member
Dec 28, 2005

My wife and I decided almost 10 months ago that we were going to go ahead and buy an RV for our family (we have 2 small children).
However, once we started looking we quickly became overwhelmed with all of our options.

We've looked at the Class A,C, the trailer and the 5th wheel.? Even though we are leaning towards the Class A, we still like a lot of the features of the 5th wheel and don't want to rule out the C or the travel trailer.

However, 3 weeks ago, we rented a class C and drove 1200 miles down the CA coast (had a blast) While I was walking around
the campground I got a bright idea...? I learned so much from the people who were camping that I discovered that getting advice
from experienced RV'rs was the way to help me make my decision.

I am sick and tired of all the biased info from the dealers trying to sell their products.
That is why I put together this survey: http://www.jeffradich.com/rv/rv-questions.html

I am not trying to sell anything... rather I am trying to gather as much information as I can to help me and my wife pick the best RV for our family.? Once I get done gathering my information I plan to post this report on the net so other users can benefit from it.? I've already received a lot of good information, so as a way to say thank you, I will send you a copy of the report once it's done.

thanks a gain.
Those are pretty extensive questionaires, jefmer.

The best RV for your family is one that works best for your style of travel, size of family, budget, etc. The best one for me is not relevent to YOUR decision.  You already did the right thing - rent an RV and get some experience. I suggest you do that again. My next suggestion after that is to buy a used one and get some more experience before investing too much money. You will find your style changes with experience, especially after you stay in different places and take longer trips.
I have to agree with Gary about your questionnaires. You're asking folks to provide a narrative on many of the questions. You're also asking for personal information which some folks may not be willing to provide to a stranger.

Why not ask some individual questions here in the forum and see what response you get? I suspect you'll be more likely to get responses here. Please don't lump all your questions into a single message though; You're more likely to get responses if you separate them into their own message (i.e. one question per message).
I agree with Tom and Gary.  Personally I don't do surveys.  However I will provide answers to individual questions on the Forum if I feel I have a good answer.
OK, so I actually took the time to do all of that! Anyone else?

Jeff, you need to do some homework first as there just are no short-cuts and no two of us want or need the exact same things.
I have found that the RV Consumer Group's Price and Ratings data to be invaluable in helping me to make two purchasaes (a 5-th wheel in 1999 and a motor coach in 2005). 
We've owned 3 motorhomes since our first acquisition in 1993. The single biggest reason for purchasing subsequent motorhomes is that we determined that our USE has evolved. We started out with a MH that could easily fit into rustic campsites and the learned that we're less inclined to "camp" and more inclined to "tour" and at the same time we saw our USE to be enough that we wanted to expand the time that we were on the road. Beginning with maybe 30 nights of camping, we're now on the road 75-80 nights a year.

With small children, you're likely to change your USE considerably once your kids are in their late teen years. You may discard your RV by then.

I would be very surprised that a young family, like yours, can settle upon a static requirement for their RV. I'd be overly smug to suggest that we have found the perfect match, but because of our mature ages, I feel fairly certain that ours will be our "final" motorhome. Our having moved from one to another (3 in 13 years) suggests that nothing is static.
I will take a look at your questionnaire, but already I find myself agreeing with the others, that RV selection is very personal.? The best advice I have received in the past was not so much what to buy but how to buy it.? There is no way to make this simple.? In my mind it is like buying a battleship.? Many possible configurations and systems.

Here are my suggestions:

1.? Test drive, test drive, test drive.? Don't dare buy anything without test driving it at least once.? We test drove the particular Class A we bought, three times before we purchased it.? We test drove about 15 motorhomes altogether.? And we test drove at 4 different dealers.

2. Do not set a deadline for purchase or rush into it.? Selecting an RV is half the fun if you handle it right.? Enjoy the experience.? This is one time the dealers and manufacturers will be all over you trying to please you.? Smell the roses along the way and do not let anyone hurry you.? Never, never buy at an RV show or right off the lot.? They will try to tell you that you only get a special price at a show, but if you are really ready to buy you can get the same price or better at any time.?

3. Consider ordering from the factory.? This way a hundred people won't be tromping around in your new coach while it sits waiting for you to find it on the lot.? At least at our dealer, no one is allowed to step inside a factory ordered coach, and we owned it 3 days after it arrived.? Also, with some manufacturers, you can put a lot of custom orders on your coach if you order it from the factory.

4.? Have a pre delivery checklist of your own at time of delivery.? There are some sample checklists both on this web site and on others.? My dealer told me they had their own pre delivery checklist that was very thorough.? I looked at it and it had less than 10% of the items that were on my own checklist.? I insisted they give me an entire day to be left by myself, inspecting my new coach after it was delivered.? Then the next day they did their own "show and tell".? I did not let them go first because I wanted to control my agenda and did not want them to move on ahead without me.

Thanks Tom.


I answered your questionnaire but I did not provide my personal name etc.  You can certainly use my advice, but without any kind of personal identification.  All of my answers were related to my answer here.  I know you want to prove to the readers of your future book that you gathered information from real people, but I hope you respect those who genuinely want to share their experience without losing control of their privacy.

BTW that Survey Monkey web site was a VERY interesting place to visit. 
magboiler said:
I started to reply...good questions..but too many...and too much information that I was unwilling to share.

That was my feeling too so I did not respond to the survey.  Other than the personal information most of the answeres can be found right here on this forum.

Smoky has given some good advice.

Man --- I'm the loosest guy on the planet about giving out info in regards to my thoughts-  but even I wouldn't begin to answer those.  No two of us would agree on the same coach or camper and when it comes to options  - lordy-  you get what you need and want in that order, depending on the width of your wallet.  Mine is thin so,  desires have to take a back seat.  However, if money were no object, It would be a 45'  Newell with the works.  Instead,  I drive a used 98 Gasser with a tag axle that works great for me.  And I can buy a lot of gas for the $20 to $30K difference for a diesel no more than I travel.  So test drive them all make up your mine and then check the wallet size and go from there.  What ever you buy, just remember, in 6 months you'll wish it were something else.  That's just the way it goes for the 1st 2 or 3 coaches.  Good luck and happy motoring.
"What ever you buy, just remember, in 6 months you'll wish it were something else. "

Shayne... everyone keeps telling us that ... but it has not happened to us.  We took several years to research our coach.  The only thing we would change would require a bigger wallet than we have, so we are completely satisfied.  We do not subscribe to the theory of buy used until you find out what you want.  What worked for us is take your time test driving and researching many coaches, then pick one for life.  It is too expensive, in our opinion, to keep trading coaches, because of the depreciation. 

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