MODELS OF MOTOR HOMES - HELP

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gbono2

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May 29, 2006
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Hi there everyone.  I am new to this forum.  I do contract work & travel a lot, so I'm considering a 35-40 used motor home (gas or diesel) rather than pay rent.

Could anyone indicate which manufacturers are high end, mid level & low end.

Also, any individual opinions would be welcome on this topic. 

I would appreciate any comments on the models that ar best for full time living.

Thanks everyone
 

RVsoul

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that is a a very general question.. many manufacturers offer high end and lower end units. The question is what is your budget? When you have determinsed that I'm sure people here can recommend you more than one option...
 

gbono2

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RV soul

I was only trying to find out which are the good, mediocre (middle of the road), & bad (don't buy them ever).  I thought it would be a good starting place to eliminate the low enders w/sorry products.  After all, there are a lot of motor home manufacturers out there.

Price used - max $100K

Thanks for the advice
 

Jackliz

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gbono2 said:
RV soul

I was only trying to find out which are the good, mediocre (middle of the road), & bad (don't buy them ever).  I thought it would be a good starting place to eliminate the low enders w/sorry products.  After all, there are a lot of motor home manufacturers out there.

Price used - max $100K

Thanks for the advice

You could pick up a very nice used Blue Bird Wanderlodge for that price. We live fulltime in our 1993 Wanderlodge and are very comfortable.

Regards,
Liz
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would recommend as used high end rig over a new low end, especially at that price point. I assume the $100k is the bottom line on the sales contract, not an MSRP (new rigs are discounted substantially and used ones ofetn are aswell).

There are brands that I personally would stay away from, but others would likely disagree. I am biased against Coachman and Thor Industries product lines, but we have people here who own them and are satisfied.
 

tsisco

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RV Roamer said:
I would recommend as used high end rig over a new low end, especially at that price point. I assume the $100k is the bottom line on the sales contract, not an MSRP (new rigs are discounted substantially and used ones often are as well).

There are brands that I personally would stay away from, but others would likely disagree. I am biased against Coachman and Thor Industries product lines, but we have people here who own them and are satisfied.

I agree 100%.  2 highly respected manufacturers of coaches are Newmar and Tiffin and you could find a really nice, fairly late model well-built coach at the price you indicate.  My personal dislikes would also include Fleetwood's entry and mid-level coaches. 

Gas or diesel?  It depends on the number of miles you are driving each year and how long you realistically plan to own the coach you buy.  Gas = lower initial cost, higher depreciation in most cases, fewer miles between major overhauls (although most RV engines are seldom worn out), and lower routine maintenance costs, especially if you plan on having your coach professionally maintained.  Diesel =  just the opposite, plus vastly improved ride and handling characteristics, almost no engine noise in the cockpit. 

Why did I buy my '04 Dutch Star 4025 DP????  Because it makes neat noises and my wife liked the colors! ;D

Good luck!!!
 

irvsiegel

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tsisco said:
I agree 100%.  2 highly respected manufacturers of coaches are Newmar and Tiffin and you could find a really nice, fairly late model well-built coach at the price you indicate.  My personal dislikes would also include Fleetwood's entry and mid-level coaches. 

  Having just purchased an entry level Fleetwood (Class A Fiesta LX 34N), and enjoying it very much, I'm wondering why you have a personal dislike toward them.

Irv
 

gbono2

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Well folks, with the exception of tcisco  no one even tried to answer my initial question.  You all seemed to want to deal with the amount I was going to spend for a used coach & gas vs diesel. 

In short, I am really disappointed w/the answersjavascript:void(0);
Cry & it just goes to show people can't read. 

Thanks for your attempts that gave me virtually no information at all.javascript:void(0);
Huh

I know motorhomes can be categorized by manufacturer from entry level (bad), to good, better & best. That was what I wanted and not a discussion on gas vs diesel & the amount I was going to spend.

Good day!!
 

Tom

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gbono2 said:
...it just goes to show people can't read.

Apologies if we appear to be unable to read.

If you care to re-read the responses, 4 people attempted to quantify one or more brands. If you read further, you'll understand that folks are a little reluctant to say "brand x is junk" when we likely have members here who own such a brand and are very happy with it. We're all biased to some extent by what we own and by our experiences. So, what one person might think is great will be considered garbage by someone else.

As RVSoul said, most manufacturers make high and low end coaches. When we bought a Pace Arrow in 1985 it was considered "high" in Fleetwood's product line and, although we were very happy with it (we kept it 15 years), there were better/nicer coaches out there by other manufacturers. Currently Fleetwood has their American Coach division which produces some very nice coaches, but they also cost a lot more than Fleetwood's lower end coaches, any of which are still likely good choices.

We've been very happy with our Monaco Camelot and Monaco makes a range of coaches (gas and diesel), any of which would be good choices.

Having owned only two brands, I have to limit my comments on other brands to what I see in RV shows/dealers' lots and to the comments of owners of those brands. But there are so many out there that could be considered "good", it's tough to come up with a simple answer to your question. In addition to the brands already mentioned, Winnebago, Travel Supreme and National RV all have very happy customers in addition to the 'Monaco brands" such as Holiday Rambler, Safari and Beaver. Fulltimers here own all of these brands.

Be advised that a significant factor in how folks perceive their brand is how efficiently their problems are resolved. Unfortunately, the warranty/repair experience can be influenced significantly by the dealer experience. In our case we had a terrible experience with the dealer and excellent support from Monaco service centers in addition to Monaco service techs at rallies. The net of all this is that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Monaco. Lots of similar experiences have been shared by members with various brands over the years.

FWIW some of our members are in transit or otherwise offline, so they may not have seen your question yet.
 

Shayne

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Irv  Didn't know that Fiesta was a Fleetwood Product  I've never seen it in their line.  I thought it was from the Gulfstream line.  A far cry from a Fleetwood,.  IMO
 

Ray D

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Gbono2: I haven?t been in this lifestyle very long, and like you, came here to gather information helpful to buying and using a motorhome. I?m a newbie. But, believe it or not, I can answer your questions. I can give you some advice that you asked for, and just a little that you didn?t ask for. (Hope you?ll excuse that, but it may be helpful as you go along.)

Like you, I have made some posts where the answers were just exasperating. I found two reasons for that, when I looked back at the frustrating threads

The first reason I found was that while they answered my question, it wasn?t what I wanted to hear. For example, I spent a lot of energy trying to find out how to tow my Volvo, within the weight limits of my MH and without modifications. The answer is - that cannot be done - which I didn?t want to hear. Took a while! This does not apply to you. What you want is doable.

The second reason is that some people answered the question I asked.

Yep! That?s what they did. The way I asked my question sent them off on the wrong path, though. What I really wanted to know, I hadn?t actually asked! So, I wait a day or so and ask the question, again. This time I zero in on what I actually want to know. Worked every time. Honestly, I made the same mistake, reading your questions that everyone else made.

In your initial post, you said, ?Also, any individual opinions would be welcome on this topic. I would appreciate any comments on the models that ar best for full time living.?  Every response you got, including this one, is directly responsive to that post.

In your initial post, you also said, ?Could anyone indicate which manufacturers are high end, mid level & low end.?  In your last post you make it very clear that this is really what you want. That is a sizeable job for even the most knowledgeable veterans, here. It?s a biggie!

That is really a very long list and I doubt that it would be usable. Like you said, yourself, there are a lot of manufacturers. But, such a list does exist, is easy to find, and in useable form! Every manufacturer makes all or nearly all of a selection, from ?Best? to ?Worst.? (Almost every - - )

Every manufacturer that I have wondered about has a web-site. All of them list their models - sub-brands - in a ranking order, either top to bottom or the reverse. For example, Tiffin at 
http://www.tiffinmotorhomes.com/  
Lists the Allegro first, that?s ?entry level,? - the top of the line will be to the right, and will be diesel. The other manufacturers will be similar. There are quite a few of them. Winnowing them out will have to be done by your own criteria. Apply what you learn about new units, to used units. They are pretty much consistent.

Among manufacturers, price will tell you what competes with what. That?s by difinition! At that point, personal prejudices and gossip/hearsay/rumor and anecdotal personal experience, mingled with technical knowledge and expertise enter the picture. Hard to tell which is which! It?s all opinion. You have to make the decision based upon your opinion.

In your second post, it appeared to me that you set an upper price limit at $100K. Later, it appears that sticking to that limit gave you an acid stomach. You withdrew it - I think. You seem to want to limit the selection work, and I sure don?t blame you for that! Gave me an acid stomach, several times! I can help you.

Discontinue looking at manufacturers and brands, and look for a single chassis. All motorhomes built on the chassis I am going to recommend are super-reliable quality. Several manufacturers make them, and there are no lemons. (Any lemon manufacturer got eliminated on his first or second unit. They are gone.)

I have very limited experience driving and watching the maintenance on this chassis, commercially, over several decades, more than just a few units. Never owned one, but I will when my boat comes in. (The boat is a bit over-due, late!) Quality is consistent with few or no blemishes that I know or have heard about. They are easy to recognize, with the chassis brand on the front, rather than the house manufacturer, sometimes, in large letters.

Look for ?PREVOST.?  Available new or used, and in some considerable quantity. Save you a lot of work. If you were serious about the $100K upper limit, this may take some doing and such a unit may date a ways back. (I don?t recall seeing one.) It?ll still be good. Ignore the miles on the odometer. They don?t matter - six figures is routine and common, 7, not unheard of, commercially, I am told. Don?t think you?ll find a PREVOST RV with the engine or chassis worn out from miles driven. The house components can be cleaned, repaired, refurbished or replaced, reasonably, as needed. You won?t be disappointed.

Ray D
 

irvsiegel

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Shayne said:
Irv   Didn't know that Fiesta was a Fleetwood Product  I've never seen it in their line.   I thought it was from the Gulfstream line.   A far cry from a Fleetwood,.  IMO

Shayne,

  The Fiesta line is identical to the Terra line, except for the color schemes.  Some Fleetwood dealers carry the Fiesta line, while others carry the Terra line.  Same coaches, different name.

Irv
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If you are willing to consider only Prevost class rigs, you might add Bluebird (Wanderlodge) and Featherlite (Vogue & Vanterra) to the list.  You can find older Wanderlodges in the under 100K range and they ought to meet your requirements well.
 

Ray D

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RV Roamer: Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Featherlite, in particular and Wanderlodge (I think) also are built on thePrevost chassis. Am I wrong?

Ray D.  ;D
 

Ned

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Featherlite is by Vogue and is, I believe, built on the Prevost shell.  Wanderlodge is built on the Bluebird chassis, specifically one designed for motor homes.
 

n880ep

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bono,

You ask open ended questions to volunteers, then moan about their responses..... tch tch.

pete
 

ArdraF

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Gbono2,

One of the reasons we hesitate to classify motorhomes has to do with the changing market situation.  First and foremost, some manufacturers produce the gamut from entry-level to high end.  Monaco is one of these, with both gas and diesel coaches from entry to high.  (Incidentally, someone mentioned chassis.  Monaco produces its own Roadmaster chassis so each motorhome warranty includes both the "house" and the "foundation" on which it sits.  Most motorhomes are on someone else's chassis.)  They have dozens of products and even those of us who attend Monaco rallies and read the Monaco magazine can't keep up with them all.

Perhaps an even more important factor is that companies change.  Let's take our hypothetical Joe Blow who thinks he has the world's best motorhome in Brand X.  It's a couple of years old and he's never had any problems with it.  Now you come along and Joe highly recommends Brand X so you buy one based on his recommendation.  In the meantime, and what our hypothetical Joe doesn't realize, Brand X has run into financial problems since he bought his rig.  As a result, Brand X has started cutting corners and is no longer building such a high quality product.  After you buy Brand X you have all kinds of problems, some serious, some not - but they're problems and you are not a happy camper.  In such a situation, consumers may not become aware of the problem until (1) they hear a lot of complaints from their friends about Brand X or (2) Brand X declares bankruptcy and/or is bought out by another RV manufacturer.  As those of us who have been around the RV industry for a while fully realize, the reverse also can happen.  Brand Y used to be a good product and then went downhill, only to get a new CEO who revives the product and the quality.  These situations happen more frequently than most folks realize - which is one reason forums such as ours are useful because we collectively have a huge "memory."  But we're also cautious in our recommendations as a result.

But, to answer your needs more specifically, I think you might find it useful to look at what is for sale in the Family Motor Coach Association "Family Motor Coaching" magazine and "Motorhome" magazine, as well as some of the online RV selling sites.  Each one has a motorhomes for sale section in the back and these entries can give you some ideas about prices so you can narrow (e.g., eliminate) your brand choices to what you can afford.  For example, someone mentioned the Prevost chassis.  One of the big manufacturers using this chassis is Marathon, a high end brand.  Say a Marathon owner buys a new one almost every year or two (some people like their toys new and can afford them).  Because of depreciation, a prospective purchaser of the coach this person is selling might see a very good opportunity to buy a million dollar coach greatly reduced.  And, it will depreciate every year, so a four-year old Marathon might be a very good buy for someone who wants a quality coach at a reasonable price.  That's the positive.  On the negative side, a Marathon might not appeal to you because it's too big, too glitzy, or whatever.  In that case you might reject that brand based on personal preference.

And that brings us to the heart of buying a motorhome.  It is such a gut level thing that it's hard to pinpoint what is right for someone else.  If you end up buying only on price and quality you might hate it longterm because the floorplan is awful or because it doesn't have other features you now realize you WANT.  For example, you're using a computer so you probably want to have a computer desk of some sort if you're going to be living in it fulltime.  Some models have them and some don't.  Some manufacturers will put one in and others won't or can't perhaps because there are water pipes where you want it.  Our current motorhome is a Monaco Executive and Monaco was very receptive to making changes we really wanted.  Of course, there were some they couldn't do because it wasn't practical, but we got most of what we wanted and, yes, we're very happy with our motorhome.

Another suggestion, if it's feasible, is to attend a motorhome rally.  Family Motor Coach Assn. has two major ones each year (there are smaller regional rallies as well) and they're a great way to see a wide variety of products.  The added benefit is that you can pick each one apart as you go through it, meaning "I really like that feature," "now that looks awful," "I wonder why they did that," "that's beautiful," or "what a neat idea."  You also can look at the "fit and finish" to compare quality.  Floorplans are another big revelation.  If you see eight people sitting and/or standing in a motorhome and other people can get in and around them, then maybe this one is big enough.  If it seems crowded, then maybe not.  Or maybe the plan doesn't have many or large enough windows and you want a lot of windows because you like to see outside, you want air flow, you like a more open feel, etc.  Most of us in the Forum attend rallies where we're getting ready to buy a new rig so we can see what is new - engines, floorplans, amenities, etc.

Gbono2, buying a motorhome can be quite overwhelming so please don't be discouraged.  It takes time and patience.  And, it takes the right questions.  As you get a better feel for what's out there, you'll have more specific questions that we can better address.  Also, Tom mentioned that a lot of the Forumites are traveling right now.  This is true, so give them a chance to settle down long enough to read your request and I'm sure you'll get more answers.  Trust me, there are a lot of opinions on this Forum!  ;D ;D

Good luck,
ArdraF

 

chaajoad

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Wow - looks like he's gone as fast as he arrived.

I think there's a lot more homework to be done than just ask a few folks on a forum about good or bad brands of anything. For every person who likes Chevy there's a die-hard Ford fan.

He has his budget figured out but what about everything else? How much will it be used? Used for what? Fulltiming/weekends/every so often? Towing anything? How many adults/kids? What amenities are hoped for? Any deal breakers?

I never understood why anyone would post a question and then fault those who took the time to answer - and some of the posts are extensive. The folks here are intelligent, seasoned RV'ers. You can restate your question and you might get answers that please you more.
 

Tom

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You're right, he didn't come back for some of the responses. Oh well, you can lead a horse to water, but .....
 
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