Introductory RV Information?

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DonWin

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Posts
5
Howdy,

My wife and I (55 and 56) are investigating the RV lifestyle in an A-class diesel pusher as a semi-retirement option since my work can carry me all over the country if I let it, but at present she works a normal job. We obviously see the romance of the open road but we want to find out about the harder parts of the experience. The stuff that doesn't get put in the advertisements for motor homes! How does this dump station thing work? Is it as objectionable as my wife and my imagination might make it? What's the real dirty job? How much true travel cost can I expect to incur driving across country. What if a tire goes? How relliable are the various mechanical systems that make this truck a home? What's the weak link? Have technological advances made buying an older motor home a risky or unwise choice or can I expect to purchase an older vehicle with success? Are these monsters mostly expected to be housed in RV resorts or can you reasonably take it to out-of-the-way campgrounds and such? As a former automobile mechanic and reasonably mechanically-inclined human, can I maintain it myself?

Got a load of questions but I have left plenty of time for research as there is no rush but any info that will give me a more reasonable, realistic view will be appreciated.

Thanks for your input.
 

Tom

Administrator
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Jan 13, 2005
Posts
49,064
Hi DonWin and welcome to the RV Forum. You've asked some great questions and hopefully will get some answers. Here's a few of my own:

Dumping the holding tanks isn't a glamorous job, but it really isn't that bad. If you stay any length of time at a campground, you'll likely have the sewer hose hooked up while there. Then, before you leave &/or when the tanks are full, you merely pull the respective valve to empty the black, then gray tank. If you do a lot of boondocking, you'll need to visit a campground or other facility that has a dump station, but the dump procedure will be essentially the same.

RVs certainly have a lot of appliances and other stuff that can break down. In practice, it's not a lot different from having appliances at home that break down, although the additional movement from traveling down the road may add some extra stress that might contribute to premature failure.

Choice of campground is up to you, although larger motorhomes may not be able to get into some remote places such as national forest campgrounds.

You might find some useful reading in our forum library. Click the Library button above and select one of the categories such as Newcomers need to know.
 

Ron

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Jan 29, 2005
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Home is where we park it
Welcome to the RV Forum. Please look around the forum,  join in on any of the on going discussions, start new discussions, or ask questions. Thanks for joining us.

I see Tom has already provides you some answers.
 

Karl

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Joined
Mar 3, 2005
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5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Have technological advances made buying an older motor home a risky or unwise choice or can I expect to purchase an older vehicle with success? Are these monsters mostly expected to be housed in RV resorts or can you reasonably take it to out-of-the-way campgrounds and such? As a former automobile mechanic and reasonably mechanically-inclined human, can I maintain it myself?
Let me try to answer a few of your questions together. You say you're an auto mechanic and mechanically inclined. Great! As such, you've probably run into more than a few cases where new technology has left you hung out to dry. Gone are the days when you could throw a rebuild kit on a carb, change the plugs, cap, rotor, and points, and have an almost new running vehicle. Now you need code readers and all manner of special tools. I have an older (1996) rig with a Ford 460 F.I. and do most of the work myself. However, being in a 'doghouse' means there is little room to do more than basic maintenance on it. You need a pit (or don't mind laying on your back), long-reach flex head wrenches, and a lot of patience. That said, I have not had a breakdown in the past 4 years that I've owned it, and don't expect one any time soon. So, yes, an older rig is still user-friendly. A diesel is another story, and I won't try to address it except to say that if you're not a diesel mechanic, don't expect to be doing much D.I.Y on those. As was mentioned in a previous post, you have pretty much the same maintenance and problems with appliances that you would have in a stick house. Most of those you can fix yourself too. There are also insurance plans that will cover most, if not all, coach and appliance problems. You pay a fee up front, and that covers you for "x" number of years.
Hope this helps in some small way.
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Again welcome to the forum   A great Place and people.  For what it's worth may I make a suggestion for the being mechanically inclined.  Make the 1st purchase a 34 to 37' gasser.   My reasoning is this, 1,  less $ to see if this life suits your spouse and you, while viewing the floor planning that you will settle on.  2.  Fuel pricing at the present  Deisel is outrageous. plus the 25 to 35 K$ it cost new over a Gasser.   You definately can work on the Gasser more easily the the pusher. 3rd   once you'd decided on the pusher you desire, you will be happy for years to come, whereas, starting off with a new rig, you and the chances are very good, you won't have purchased the unit that suits you best, due to the lack of experience.   Been in this since the 60's and bought the 1st 5 new because we sold them.  Never again, I always buy a 1 or 2 year old unit.  had deisels before, now have a gas due to the $ factor and wishing I had a Pusher, for the power only.  JMHO 
 

Biggermike

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Posts
3
Don,

I spent two years researching before I bought my first coach that was a 4 year old Allegro Bus. I bought it right (Good Price) and fell in love with pushers. After a year we decided to go full time and traded for a 03 American Tradition. (New) . I would recommend you buy a 1/3 year old used coach because the "bugs" will have been worked out. The tech part does not move as fast as you think. Many older high end coaches have just as good systems as the newer low end or mid level coaches. As far as dumping goes that's a cinch and if you are carefull not a problem. Many of the newer model coaches have built in tank scrubbers to easily maintain and clean tanks.
 

Biggermike

New member
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Posts
3
Don,

Just a few more things. As far as money goes one guy told me that an unlimited amount would be sufficient. Realistically each person finds ways to make it work. You can stay in cheaper camp grounds, join clubs which give you a break on camping, boondock etc. If you stay in a campground for more than a few days it is less by the week, month. Try to stay and plan by using the books and the net. When we travel  from one location to the next we try to overnight at Wal-Mart. Most of them welcome the overnight-er, it is free and you can restock your food or other supplies. Stopping at a campground for a few hours can cost $30.00 or more for one night so why bother that $30.00 on a four day drive can supply your food for a week or more at Wal-Mart. Consider camping costs at $500.00 to $1,000.00 per month for big rigs in nice places. It can be more but that's up to you. We full time and have no house to maintain which is a large cost savings. Many months my camping costs less than my electric bill did in the California summertime. We use RPI and Passport America. We are also Elks and VFW members and many times they have campgrounds or let you dry camp.

Mike
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Yes their are a few places at the $1000 a month catogory but most in the 20 tp 35 bracket unless very near DC or NY, and places like that,  This Pueblo El Mirage 20 miles west of Phoenix is $600 a month or $1600 for 3 months in the winter and for the 3 months you pay the electric.    Cheaper  to go the month to month.  You'll find a variety throughout the country.  This is a Very nice place with all the amenities.  Naturally it's cheaper in the summer but who wants to camp here in 115 degree weather.
 

DonWin

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Posts
5
Glad I found my way here. Got a lot of good info and expect I'll find some more here. Sounds like the old joke -- How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a big one!

I thought the diesel versus gas debate was generally settled in favor of diesel for a long term, full time home. I understood diesel was less expensive in the long run despite extra cost at the pump due to the increased milage and decreased maintenance. Is that not true? Also was wondering about the dolly versus open trailer versus closed trailer for the dinghy.

Certainly going to give the experience a try through a rental before I buy one but I am sure I'm going to find out some things won't work out the way I originally plan when I finally do make a purchase. I guess I can expect to make at least a pair of purchases before I work through the rookie mistakes.

Anyway, I appreciate everyone's help and suggestions. Still learning what I don't presently know to ask. Fortunately, I have time to continue to research and plan to do so. Thanks to everybody.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Those debates will never be over :)  Many think that their way is the best way, but the truth is everyone's situation is different and each of us has to make decisions that best suit us.  The gas vs. diesel question has no clear cut answer, even less so today as the high end gas chassis are competitive withe the smaller diesel chassis.  We can only give you guidance in these areas and relate our experiences, but the ultimate decision will always be yours based on your preferences.

You can start your research using our extensive library, then as you come up with specific questions, ask away.
 

roxelle

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2006
Posts
6
I would like to know which rv resort  won resort of the year for 2005 and 2006 (By nat. assn. of rv resorts and campgrounds)
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
The web site for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds is here.  Perhaps a look around there might turn up the information.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Perhaps they don't issue an award.  I would expect them to have a press release if they did.
 

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