Need Some Guidance -- Class A Vs. Class C

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kalauver

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Sep 17, 2021
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17
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Virginia
Hi all !
I've been looking at RV's for what seems forever (2 years now) and I've always thought I wanted a Class C, but now I'm entertaining the thoughts on a Class A. I've heard some different things about the differences when it comes to drive-ability, etc and am looking to get some advice from the experts. When it comes to the ease of drive-ability, is one easier than the other? I've heard that Class A's are shaky and top heavy and Class C's are back heavy. I've heard that Class A's you're driving the front of the vehicle to control the back where a class C is more like a normal truck or van. Is this all true? Is one better than the other?

I'm looking for something that can house 4 people and be on the road live-able for weeks at a time. Cross country trips, etc. I don't have a big budget so finding something used that someone has taken great care of is ideal. I'd like to find something that I can renovate to include a small office area separate from the dinette (a bunk house would be great for this!) and like the layout of the Coachman Leprechaun 310BH for this idea. I looked at a 32' Fleetwood Terra today (2004) and the owner put A LOT of work into the mechanics to make it not sway, better brakes, steering column, etc.

Any help to understand whats easy to drive and may fit my needs is appreciated.

Thanks !
 

UTTransplant

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Cedar Falls, IA
The issue with the bigger C units is they end up having very limited cargo carrying capacity. The chassis is standard, so adding extra length and house “stuff” eats up the capacity that you need for people and gear on longer trips. Even a gas Class A will have more carrying capacity. The issue with a Class A is the vast majority are really set up for 2 people. It gets old real fast making up a sofa bed or dinette bed for months.
 

Larry N.

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Westminster, Colorado
I've heard that Class A's are shaky and top heavy and Class C's are back heavy. I've heard that Class A's you're driving the front of the vehicle to control the back where a class C is more like a normal truck or van. Is this all true?
Sometimes maybe, depending on which rig and who's doing the perceiving. A class A is usually built on a much heavier, stronger chassis than most class C units (disregarding Super C units), and looks somewhat like a bus, but from there the answer is, "it depends." And as Pam says, so many class C units are close to max allowable weight (GVWR) as they come from the factory, limiting available cargo capacity.

Are we talking gas or diesel, long or short, WHICH chassis (though most gassers today are Ford F-53), and what, if anything has been done by the manufacturer, dealer or previous owner to add stability to the chassis. Many (most?) handle just fine, though they tend to be strongly affected by crosswinds or passing trucks because of the large vertical "sail" behind the rear wheels.

Most rear engine diesels (DP, or Diesel Pusher) have air suspension and tend to ride and drive somewhat like a Greyhound bus, which usually means decent handling, and the "sail" behind the rear wheels is pretty small, so little effect. They're usually heavier and have a lower CG (Center Of Gravity) too.

In ALL cases, proper tire pressure is a major factor in handling, especially for the steering tires, since too much pressure can make the rig very squirrely, and too little pressure can be a tad squishy plus the danger of overloaded tires blowing out.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Albuquerque, NM
Once you figure out the steering difference sitting over the front wheels of a class A vs behind the wheels of a class C the rest is like driving a big pickup truck. Class C's seem more user friendly I guess but the ones I've ridden in we're nothing to write home about in terms of ride or handling. Maybe give a few of each flavor a test drive or better yet rent one and see what features and capabilities are make or break for what you want or need.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

MNDad

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MN
I just joined this site so I could leave my $.02. this is a great topic... I have owned a few class A and one class C. We sold our 07 Fleetwood Tioga last fall. It was a pleasure to drive. It was like driving a pickup and the V10 was plenty powerful. This spring we bought a 99 class A Fleetwood Pace Arrow.
Again, we have owned other class A motorhomes do not my first rodeo. This unit has V10 as well. In my opinion, stay away from the older units with the 460/454. They don't have the horsepower needed to move these things. The primary reason for going back to an A is the view and feeling part of the trip. When sitting in the cockpit of the C it feels like you are not a part of the group. In the A you feel more involved with everyone you are traveling with. The panoramic view is unmatched.
Now, as for driving... Day one, this drove like a tank. We bought new tires, replaced the shocks, added Safe-T-Steer and a rear sway bar kit and it is now a much nicer ride.
I say all that, to say this. Most important is quality. Fleetwood and Winni make a better product then most gassers. (I'm not talking diesel here, that's a different discussion). Next, you can improve on the short comings of the class A. But you can't easily add beds. Class C gives you sleeping space which is hard to do in the A. As stated by others storage goes to the class A. Whatever you choose, remember it's all about the memories. Enjoy the road.
 

DonTom

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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
I own both an old Class C and a new Class A.

What bugs me the most about my new Class A is the single door. And it's on the right side, away from the driver's seat.

I am still in the habit of getting in on the driver's side, which cannot be done in a Class A.

What I like the best about the Class A is what you see is what you get. Nothing over my head. No more stuff to the sides. And the great view as driving from those very large windows up front.

Class C's make you feel like you're in a small van--but you're not. It larger to both sides and the top.

The Class A may feel larger at first, because what you see is what you really have, unlike a Class C.

But the Class C has three doors!

-Don- Reno, NV
 
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DonTom

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In my opinion, stay away from the older units with the 460/454.
How old is old? A carb 454 doesn't compare to a 454 MPFI and mine would love to race your V-10 up any hill any day at any elevation.

Really, I wouldn't even want more power or torque than my Y2K already has.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

MNDad

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I own both an old Class C and a new Class A.

What bugs me the most about my new Class A is the single door. And it's on the right side, away from the driver's seat.

I am still in the habit of getting in on the driver's side, which cannot be done in a Class A.

What I like the best about the Class A is what you see is what you get. Nothing over my head. No more stuff to the sides. And the great view as driving from those very large windows up front.

Class C's make you feel like you're in a small van--but you're not. It larger to both sides and the top.

The Class C may feel larger at first, because what you see is what you really have, unlike a Class C.

But the Class C has three doors!

-Don- Reno, NV
It's all about perspective. My A has a driver door but if rather it didn't. 😂 Good point about knowing your size. Sometimes in the C you forget or you can't see how big you are. In the A, you know how big you are.
 

MNDad

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How old is old? A carb 454 doesn't compare to a 454 MPFI and mine would love to race your V-10 up any hill any day at any elevation.

Really, I wouldn't even want more power or torque than my Y2K already has.

-Don- Reno, NV
I only know what I've experienced. I've owned 3 of them and disliked all three. Every little Hill they would kick into od. The V10 cruises right over them.
 

MNDad

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I don't think I have ever seen such on a Class A. What year and model? I would like to look it up.

And why do wish it did NOT have a driver door? What is the disadvantage of having it?

-Don- Reno, NV
OMG guy, there are many models of class A with a driver door. Mine is a 99 pace arrow. Just another potential air/leak etc. Again just my preference.
 

MNDad

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I don't think I have ever seen such on a Class A. What year and model? I would like to look it up.

And why do wish it did NOT have a driver door? What is the disadvantage of having it?

-Don- Reno, NV
 

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DonTom

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I've owned 3 of them and disliked all three. Every little Hill they would kick into od.
What years? And you must mean kick out of OD on a hill. Or shifts down to a lower gear. Then the RPMs will probably be almost as high as your V10.

Perhaps you just like fast revving engines better. I prefer slower revving.

I would expect any RV to downshift on hills. But the V10 runs so fast, perhaps it has no need to downshift as much on a hill as it's already revving fast in top gear.

BTW, my new RV (Ford 7.3L) will downshift from 6th to 5th on level ground from just pushing wind. But it was very windy the other day when I was driving back to Reno form Cold Springs Station on Hwy 50. The gear it is in is displayed at all times on the dash.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

DonTom

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OMG guy, there are many models of class A with a driver door. Mine is a 99 pace arrow. Just another potential air/leak etc. Again just my preference.
I guess I just never noticed. But I see the driver's door here.

Do some newer Class A's also have a driver's door? Or is it just with older Class A's?

I think I would rather have the three doors and I will take my chances with the potential leaks!

-Don- Reno, NV
 

Laura & Charles

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Could be anywhere. Originally from Ohio. Go Bucks!
How do you get in that driver's door? Looks very high with no step.

-Don- Reno, NV
Our first coach had a driver’s door. It was handy to get at fuses by the driver’s feet, but I never used it as an entrance or exit.. not even once. Step is integrated in the body.
 

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unni

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Sep 8, 2021
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Coupeville, WA
Hi all !
I've been looking at RV's for what seems forever (2 years now) and I've always thought I wanted a Class C, but now I'm entertaining the thoughts on a Class A. I've heard some different things about the differences when it comes to drive-ability, etc and am looking to get some advice from the experts. When it comes to the ease of drive-ability, is one easier than the other? I've heard that Class A's are shaky and top heavy and Class C's are back heavy. I've heard that Class A's you're driving the front of the vehicle to control the back where a class C is more like a normal truck or van. Is this all true? Is one better than the other?

I'm looking for something that can house 4 people and be on the road live-able for weeks at a time. Cross country trips, etc. I don't have a big budget so finding something used that someone has taken great care of is ideal. I'd like to find something that I can renovate to include a small office area separate from the dinette (a bunk house would be great for this!) and like the layout of the Coachman Leprechaun 310BH for this idea. I looked at a 32' Fleetwood Terra today (2004) and the owner put A LOT of work into the mechanics to make it not sway, better brakes, steering column, etc.

Any help to understand whats easy to drive and may fit my needs is appreciated.

Thanks !
I am going to reply based on 'dont have big budget' and 'road live-able for weeks at a time'. You probably will be better off with a Diesel class A with a rear engine or called with love - Diesel pushers. To couple it, the generator shall be diesel feeding directly from the main tank. If you can find one based on your budget, you should be better off.
Why - Diesels are always better for large vehicles, mileage-wise, power-wise, non-stop running, etc. etc. If you can find one pre-2009 or pre-emissions year- good. the generators should have spark arresters to be legally used on all states. Engines on the back give best stability, drivability and control. Also great to sleep on while driving. Knocks-out kids like a charm. As it hits its sweet spot in torque (55-75), The engine combined with the differential will start singing a lullaby. Engines in the front will tend to have more vibrations in the back the longer it extends from the differential(back wheel). Super-C categories have long drive shafts and tackles this mostly as they are real heavy-duty truck chasis. Diesels start easy even when cold and doesn't need to be stopped for days if it matters even while fueling. I have driven my MH non-stop for 40 hours when a situation demanded it. I pulled over when sleepy and slept while keeping the engine running(I am a mechanic and my engine is well kept). We pull over to fuel and just keep the engine running. My old-timer friend would even start smoking nearby. Scares the **** out of me but that is the reality of Diesel(Truck stops where there is only Diesel in the area). Class A can be a bit challenging to drive the first few hours.
That said. Most RVs any types are good depending on their upkeep, engine, cabin design and recommended speed in terms of max torque(The engine power is matched by the rotating flywheel and they complement each other perfectly. ). With good shock and adjusted tire pressure, you can handle the vibration accordingly. Good luck
 
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