New Solo RVer

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dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
As mentioned in my welcome post, I am a newbie to the RV life. Actually, I am not a newbie yet as I still live in my sticks and bricks (hardy board rather), but it is the plan.

Anyway, I am struggling to find the right RV for me. Because I will be alone on the road, I would rather not have a truck pulling a trailer as I will have no spotter. I do have a CDL, but no road time with it, so I feel more comfortable in a solid body rig than pulling a trailer. Having said that, with a full size RV, I will want a toad as well, so either way I go, I would have to manage that pivot point when backing. I haven't done much travelling, so I don't know how easy it would be to find a spot in an RV park that is pull through (I don't like planning :). I suppose I could drop the toad and then back in?

Leaving trailers out of the mix, has me in either a Class A, B or C coach. I first looked at the Aria 4000 and love it, but its way more than I need most of the time. Only a few times a year would I need a big RV for family trips/reunions. Having said that, class B is not for me at all. It seems to me that I could get what I want out of a class C but, they cost as much as a diesel pusher in many cases (I prefer diesel). I guess my expectations were that smaller RV's were cheaper. As it turns out to get the finish level/amenities I want even in a class B or C, I would end up spending as much as I would for a diesel pusher anyway.

Finally, everyone has told me to buy used. While I know that would get me the best deal and save a great deal on depreciation, I am really leery about used things as I have to deal with the habits of the previous owner. What if those people lived messy and there is food in all the nooks and crannies. It is something I wouldn't know up front, but down the road, I could be dealing with mice or other rodents that would never cross my threshold normally because I keep things OCD level clean. Additionally, the direction Thor has taken over the past 2 or 3 years with their entire product line, makes the later models more appealing to me.

Maybe I am still looking for the perfect RV, which I am told, doesn't exist, but there are some comforts I can't live without.

I do have certain requirements because I will be doing this full time and renting my current house out:

solid body RV coach is preferable since I will be solo and wont have a backup spotter
at least a dinette as an office as I will work 40+ hrs a week remotely
full bathroom
plenty of tank space for dry camping which I want to do the most of
Diesel
only need room to sleep 1 most of the time, but could need to sleep 6 for family trips (2 or 3 times a year)
laundry facilities on board

Areas where I will not make sacrifices are full bathroom/shower, laundry and the ability to work from anywhere comfortably. If that means I need to park the RV at an RV park and take my toad camping on the weekends, then that's what I will do. I think a Class C is the best bet for dry camping, but comparing the amenities from a C to an A always leaves me wanting a class A. Then there is the price and if I can't find a suitable solution, I think I will be in research mode until they come out with the perfect solution.

I guess I am a solo RVer with Prevost needs. I don't need champagne and caviar (don't even like them), but I do like a taste of the finer things in life. Anyone have thoughts or advice on any of this?
 

JudyJB

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Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Posts
1,553
I have driven my Class C for 153,000 miles over 9 years, without a toad. My decision early on was that I wanted to buy new because I am allergic to dogs and cigarette smoke, plus, I also was afraid of buying someone else's lemon. I got a good deal of 25% off MSRP, which was good. And I decided not to haul around a toad because of the problems of hooking and unhooking it up as one person. It has seldom been a problem as I do most of my shopping between campsites. I also am used to taking it out for sightseeing--takes just a few minutes to put slides in, shove kitchen stuff in the sink, and unhook the electric and water hoses.

I do NOT pack up my entire campsite every time I go out somewhere, and in 9 years have never had anything stolen. I have a sign that says I'll be right back. (This prevents situations like the young guy who thought I had forgotten my water hose and chased me down to the dump station, water hose in hand and completely out of breath!)

My only regret was that a small A would have had more cargo carrying capacity. I also work half-time, but am used to using my Laz-y-boy as my office. A small (32-34') A will also have bigger water and waste tanks, even if it is a non-Provost. And so far, I have only backed up into one tree, although I have knocked over a couple of signs, but that was moving forward. Not bad for an old lady!

Laundry facilities on board are going to be a big problem. Even the Provost-type vehicles have tiny washers and dryers, but use a lot of water. Just aren't worth the space.

Keep your eyes open for dealers that have motorhomes sitting around the lot that have not sold. It is getting harder, but you can even sometimes find a year-old rig that was maybe too small or the wrong floorplan for some reason and was used at shows but did not sell.
 
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flagolfer

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Posts
43
Location
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Your post sounds like the ENDLESS discussions my wife and I have on what to buy if I can ever convince her to stop working.

Reading here is good. Scanning brochures can help, but nothing will ever beat actually sitting in a RV and imagining how you would feel in it after a couple of days.

Which means you need to get there to a dealership. Personally, we like the Renegade and Entegra Class C’s but to each his own,

Good luck to you but keep asking questions on this forum. The people here are really nice and you’d be amazed how much you can learn just reading the posts.
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
So in the way of an update, I have been doing a ton of research. With that research came 1000 more questions. My plan for how I want to RV is mostly in BLM or forestry service land. While that may force me into a smaller rig than I would like, I would rather make some sacrifices for the lifestyle I want to live. My thought is that I will want to stay in one place for 14 days which seems to be the limit, before travelling to the next area.

How much power will 1 person use in a day? How long can I go on the black/gray/fresh tanks (I know that is a variable question, but assume it would be a class A or C diesel). Some other assumptions that will help with this question. I shower daily, no exceptions. I don't use hairdryers or any electronics other than the TV, laptop and phone, but I will use them all day plugged in. I can't sleep if it is hot, so I will likely run the A/C all night unless its really cold out (I won't use the heat much at all...even in winter). I currently keep my house at 68 degrees year round. If I dry camp, I can't get stuck in the boonies without power or water or full black and grey tanks in the middle of the week as I will have to be logged on the next day for work. Can 1 person go 14 days at a time in an RV of any class? I assume some of these tanks and power options can be upgraded, but I really don't want to sink a bunch of extra money in it as there is already so much missing gear that I will need. I could make a better decision with this with this answer, but I can't seem to find much information on this question that is specific enough to my situation. It seems most of the information is catered to families in RV's.

Sorry for the length of my posts. My situation is not a normal one, so I felt the need to elaborate for clarity.
 

Isaac-1

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Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
Ok first off, it is fairly easy to tell how clean a motorhome has been kept, this is not a house, there is little chance of a rodent infestation not being obvious, however any RV has the chance of having been invaded by a rodent, even new ones on the dealer lot, this is somewhat more or less likely in different regions of the country. The second thing is you really need to get out of the new car mentality, RV's are not like cars, many (most) come from the factory with a long list of issues, which the original owner often spends most of the 1 year warranty trying to get addressed. Stories about motorhomes spending over 6 of the first 12 months in the shop on warranty issues is all too common. As to your spotter comment, this concerns me, first of all, you can't back up when flat towing a car (some people say you can, but only straight back for a few feet such as at a gas pump, as the front wheels will quickly jack knife to one side). For RV sites you will need pull throughs or unhook and back in if you have a motorhome. One big difference between a class B or C and a class A is cargo carrying capacity (number of pounds of stuff you can haul around). Even small gas class A's often have double the weight hauling capacity of similar length class C's which can be important if you are full timing. Now a question for you, you say you prefer diesels, why? I ask this as a generally pro diesel person, I have a diesel F250, and own or am involved in managing a number of pieces of diesel powered equipment (in the dozen or so range, including 5 diesel generators, a diesel powered water pump, diesel powered air compressor, diesel powered arc welder, and 3 diesel powered tractors, maybe even a couple of others that I am forgetting about), yet I opted for a gas powered motorhome when it came time to buy one, as I feel it is the right tool for the job in just about anything under 35 feet long.
 

SargeW

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Dec 12, 2008
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7,976
Location
Where ever we park it!
A few other thoughts on the class of RV you decide on. A diesel will be more maintenance to get taken care of on an annual basis. However, a diesel chassis is built much heavier than a gasser, so the payload is usually much higher. Many class C rigs are built with a "truck style" chassis and can be a very rough ride as the suspension is often heavy coil springs. Bigger class C and A rigs on a diesel chassis will have an air bag suspension which will generally ride better. Also with the heavier diesel chassis the storage tanks are usually bigger than in a gasser. When buying a diesel there is a premium charged for the diesel powertrain. With the heavier chassis manufacturers can use heavier materials on the inside, which usually translates into better quality amenities, like a porcelain toilet as compared to a plastic one.

Your budget and desires are going to create a "range" of rigs you look at. Many gassers are very nice rigs, and if budget plays into your decision making, then start there and compare. The demand for RV's the last few years have had an effect on resale prices, so look around and compare. You may find a new rig for not much more than a gently used one.

Here is a link to PPL motorhomes in Texas. They are a large consignment dealer and sell all types of RV's and list what the sales price was. It's a good research site. Used RVs, Motorhomes for Sale, and Consigned sales | PPL Motor Homes
 

Ex-Calif

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Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
1,264
1. You are going to have to adjust your showering and power usage if you plan to boondock. You won't be able to run an A/C excessively (if at all) unless you have a significant battery bank. Your water needs will not be met if you shower every day. Sponge bathing must be considered.

2. I bought a class A. I have come to the conclusion that a trailer is a smarter move. If the engine blows or tranny blows in an older RV and you have done significant house upgrades and mods you are stuck with a decision to invest a lot of money in a replacement engine or lose and have to redo a lot of house upgrades. A trailer also comes (by necessity) with a rover vehicle. You will soon get used to backing up. Rear viewing cameras will assist that.

3. I am in 31 feet of Class A. You lose some of that with the driver's station compared to a trailer so you could be comfortable in a 28 foot trailer for example. I am usually two up (spouse) and sometimes solo. Right now we are two up with a buddy. I have given him the master berth and I am couch surfing as I wake up way before him and it works out better than way. I am convinced I would not be happy in any less space (I full time) - I have 3 different areas I can move and sit and work and this is important when stuck inside for 3 days of rain. If I had any more people (kids) I would definitely suggest a 5th wheel trailer with two cabins.

You said you are looking at A, B & C coaches. I would suggest to narrow down very soon on the type so you can focus. All of the house stuff is going to be relatively the same so the decision on type is about carrying and load capacity. A Class A will always win that in apples to apples comparison but you may not need Class A load capability.

If you do decide to boondock (properly) you will likely need to have 400W+ of solar on the roof, 400 a/h of batteries and a top notch controller - This equipment will weigh a fair amount (esp. batteries) and you will need a place to mount 4-8 house batteries depending on the voltage you choose.

After you decide on type then it's about floor plan first, motor and drivetrain second and then probably house systems.

Good luck!
 

UTTransplant

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Jul 20, 2014
Posts
2,538
Location
Cedar Falls, IA
You should be aware that many of the loveliest places to boondock or dry camp have really poor cellular data coverage. If you need so,I’d 40 hour a week Internet, you are going to have to be very careful where you stay, and there will be fewer places available. I also urge you to reconsider a toad. You don’t back into sites with the toad. You stop before that, unhook, then you back in the rig. A good four down toad takes 5 minutes to hook and unhook by one person. Dealer with a trailered toad is definitely more challenging due to the trailer. And it is perfectly possible for one person to stay for 14 days without dumping if your tanks are adequately sized. Kevin and I have 80 gallons fresh, 50 gallons black, and 70 gallons gray, and we go 7-8 days with the two of us having daily showers, using real dishes (and washing them). You can’t do that with a clothes washing machine though; they take a lot of water. And note those showers are short Navy showers, not 10 minute luxury showers.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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72,670
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At our Silver Springs FL home
Much good advice above. Some key points:
  1. You can't back up with a toad, but they are easy enough to unhook
  2. You can't afford to drive around with extra space just so you can have guests a couple days a year. "Afford" includes purchase $$, operating cost $$, and impact on your other lifestyle choices.
  3. Power & water management will be a learned skill and radically different than what you have done all your life. You will be amazed at all the extravagant (wasteful?) power & water habits you have, and some people find it very difficult to change them. That said, a careful single person can go 7-12 days on the onboard power & water systems.
  4. You are buying a furnished house, so forget "new car thinking". That said, with your OCD concerns, a new RV may be the right choice for your personal satisfaction. However, initial quality on any RV is a chancy thing and as many as 10%-15% of new Rvs spend many weeks in the shop getting a range of problems corrected. RV service, whether warranty or paid, is woefully slow and too often requires repeat visits to get done properly. A used, late model RV is often a much less frustrating experience.
  5. A modest-sized Class A coach sounds like the right answer for your needs, but a "Super-C" would also do the trick. Super-C's are based on medium duty diesel powered trucks and are typically 32-36 ft in length. Check out the Jayco Seneca and Dynamax models.
  6. You want a full bath, decent size dinette or table, laundry, and surely a comfortable bedroom with plenty of wardrobe & drawer space. Plus enough "basement" & cargo weight capacity to handle large fresh & waste water tanks, a big battery bank, and whatever gear you want to carry. That's not a small RV.
 

Dreamsend

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Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Posts
539
I live/travel FT in a 30-foot travel trailer, which was purchased new. My travels have been mostly in the western US. No way am I going to inherit someone else's habits. Depreciation is the cost of USING the asset. In reality, there is no such thing, except in the world of tax accounting. Don't get hung up about it, as many folks do. I have a big truck, and love driving it. No big deal to hitch and un-hitch. If the TT is getting maintenance or upgrades, I have the truck. If the truck ever goes down, I have the TT. The units go forward and backwards while hitched together. With a TOAD, you are severely limited - just ask those who ended up down some unknown roads and couldn't turn around with the TOAD attached.

I had never towed anything bigger than a small U-Haul. Spotter?? You don't really need one. I couldn't back up when I first started, now it's almost second nature. Not going to be many pull-throughs in FS country. When backing in, you just get out and look where you are, if necessary beyond using mirrors, and adjust. Plus, there are dozens of back-up cameras you can install, or have a dealer install if buying new, that means you don't need a spotter.

I stay in RV parks as well as boondocking, and there is always someone willing to spot for you there. If you plan on BLM, FS, etc. boondocking, then you should really consider a high clearance RV - as my Outdoors RV TT is. The pics you see of places look so nice and level and spacious - rarely do they show the numerous and oddly spaced 3-4 foot deep ruts that are most prevalent at the road turn-outs. I look for sites a lot using campendium, and think that many, many of the folks are little car and tent camping where getting around those ruts is much easier. Admittedly, there are also sites with room for larger rigs, just not as many as you may envision from all the hype about boondocking, solar power, lithium batts etc.

As folks often do, I'd recommend you rent an RV, probably a boxy Class C and do some traveling. This would also expose you to power consumption/needs and water usage, emptying tanks etc. so they are not such unknowns. I admit that with all the cool choices out there for Class As and Cs, I sometimes feel like the ugly ducking of the family, but hey, it works for me.

Linda
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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7,546
Location
Westminster, Colorado
You won't be able to run an A/C excessively (if at all) unless you have a significant battery bank.
Actually, you can run the generator, therefore the A/C, as long as you like, when you are in a place with no timing restrictions. A few years back I was at Oshkosh (the big EAA convention in Wisconsin) and camped in their camp (no hookups, in a generator permitted 24 hours area) and ran the genny for something over 72 hours straight, because we needed the air conditioning. That wasn't the first time, either.

The generators in class A rigs are designed to do exactly that, and a device such as the Gen-Turi hooks to the generator's exhaust to direct it upward and get it away from being a problem for you or for others.

With a TOAD, you are severely limited - just ask those who ended up down some unknown roads and couldn't turn around with the TOAD attached.
While this can be a problem, it is fortunately very rare, so long as you're careful where you turn -- you learn quickly. I've had this problem perhaps four or five times in the 10+ years I've been towing a toad with a class A.

I am in 31 feet of Class A. You lose some of that with the driver's station compared to a trailer so you could be comfortable in a 28 foot trailer for example.
You lose a little, but not much, and not nearly as much as in a class C. You lose so little because the driver and "co-pilot" seats swivel around to become part of your living room furniture. And you gain storage space over most trailers I've seen of similar length, as well as having a built-in generator rather than having to either do without or to buy some form of portable (and to manage fuel, as well).

If you do decide to boondock (properly) you will likely need to have 400W+ of solar on the roof, 400 a/h of batteries and a top notch controller - This equipment will weigh a fair amount (esp. batteries) and you will need a place to mount 4-8 house batteries depending on the voltage you choose.
A rig like mine comes with 8 batteries and can easily boondock for a week just by running the genny a couple of hours in the morning and again in the evening. But if you are going to do a LOT of boondocking then adding solar to something like my Ventana would be very beneficial and, depending on what you added, might drastically reduce or (mostly) eliminate running the genny, unless you need A/C.

I would rather not have a truck pulling a trailer as I will have no spotter.
In most cases a spotter is needed (IMO) as much (or as little) with a motorhome as with a trailer. You can soon learn to back a trailer, with a bit of practice, and backing a motorhome isn't necessarily a piece of cake just because it's one piece (you DO need to unhook a toad before backing). It still is taller, wider and longer than you're used to, and can surprise you with the path it requires to back in to an area (or to turn a corner on a tight corner of a road, for that matter)

If you passed your CDL, then either way will come quickly, with some practice, probably in a large, empty parking lot, perhaps with some orange cones to mark parking places or obstacles to practice with.

Luck...
 

JudyJB

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Jul 6, 2010
Posts
1,553
More responses:
  1. I bought a bunkhouse because I envisioned kids and grandkids traveling with me. Did not work out that way, although I do have one or two grandkids occasionally spending the night, but as kids get into teens, forget it! They have much more important things to do, so don't plan on getting a rig big enough for a lot of company.
  2. I have a C with 60 gallons of fresh water and a 35 gallon grey water tank and 35 gallon black water tank. I take a hot shower each night and do dishes once a day, using a dishpan so I can dump water down toilet. I can go 4-5 days if I am very careful and take a short "Navy" shower. You could go 14 days, but you had better not flush all the time, and skip showers entirely!! At that point, most fellow campers will avoid you!!
  3. There is no reason why you cannot drive out of your boondock site every few days to dump tanks and refill with fresh water. You may pay a fee for this, but with no toad, this is easy with a motorhome. I can put my slides in, throw counter stuff in the sink, and be on my way in less than five minutes, and that assumes unhooking electric and water hose. Depending on where you are, there are also places where you can camp very cheaply with electric hookups and access to water fill and dump stations.
  4. My motorhome came with two house batteries, and they will last me a couple of days without recharging them with my built-in generator. With house batteries, you can run furnace using propane, run most of your lights, HOWEVER, AC requires a hookup or generator running. Also TV and microwave needs hookup or generator.
  5. However, you will also be charging your laptop and cell phone. You can buy a 12 volt charger for your laptop, by the way, and even a 12 volt extension cord. BUT, all this electronic charging will run your batteries down. Warning: Do NOT use vehicle battery to charge electronics unless you are driving. (I have experience in this.)
  6. You can get a bank of solar panels and buy a bunch more batteries, but where to put the batteries is difficult. Also, it is highly unlikely you will be able to run AC with solar.
  7. Good news is that at least in west, desert country may be hot during day but temps are cold at night--good sleeping.
  8. Ford V10 gas engine is noisy, but very reliable. I have driven 153,000 miles on mine. I am hoping to get another 100,000 miles before I have to quit RVing because of age. (I worked with the Ford corporate quality people just before I bought my rig, and they said I should get 300,000 to 400,000 miles on that engine with no trouble at all. They were experts on such things and had no reason to try to "sell" me anything.)
  9. Also, I almost never need a spotter backing into a campsite. You get used to using your mirrors and a backup camera, plus if you are unsure of where everything is behind you, you "Get Out And Look" (Maybe do this quite a few times, but it saves trees.)
 
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dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
So, there is lots to digest here. Thank you for all the feedback, as this is very helpful. There some redundant comments, so I will try to answer all the questions here, but if I miss one, let me know.

Driving skills - I probably undersold my abilities here. I have backed trailers several times and goosenecks on limited occasions and it was fine. I guess I was just a little worried about my limited experience and being alone while doing it. The backing with a toad advice is right on point. I have backed a truck pulling a jet ski (somewhat similar in the quickness that it turns) and it is super easy to jackknife.

Showers - This is one of those things that I won't sacrifice. When I say that, I don't mean I must have 15 minute showers leaving the water on the whole time (like I do now, sorry conservationists :). I can do a Navy shower without issue, but it is needed daily as I have really oily skin.

Diesel - The main reason for this, is fuel economy but there are many. Towing capability is greater. I really like the idea of the engine brakes (I don't know if gassers have this), so I don't smoke my service brakes. Additionally, the cargo capacity is important because I will add the necessary water tank upgrades, solar and batteries to dry camp for 14 days at a time. I will also want the ability to carry some gear as well, plus the toad does provide a little extra freedom in areas where I only get internet at the RV park. I could go on forever, but having a single entry door is also desirable for me for security (1 way in and 1 way out, don't break in my rig ;). It seems the diesel pusher is one of the few with single entry doors. Most people would disagree, but I love the sound of a diesel engine. That last one obviously isn't a big deal, but it does add some merit to the direction. The last thing I will add here is I have always loved big trucks which was part of the reason I went for my CDL. The added responsibility and the ability to control and manage a vehicle that size makes you feel like the king of the road and I love that feeling.

After reading and digesting all of this as well as the research I have done, I feel pretty confident in the idea that I need a Class A diesel pusher, but maybe a shorter one in the 35 ft range as over 40 is overkill. I am having really bad luck finding any viable Class C or super C coaches that meet my needs and aren't just as expensive as the diesel pusher. I think a super C would be perfect for me, but those are more than diesel pushers in many cases.

Having said all of that, and doing some more research, I think you may have broken me of the "stuck on new" syndrome. I will never be in the market for anything more than 5 years old I don't think, but it makes sense to buy one 1 or 2 years old so they have already worked out the kinks. It seems I read this same information somewhere and blew it off thinking they had lost their mind because that's not how it works for cars. Hearing it here and then finding other sources corroborating that fact, really helps me feel better about the idea of buying used.

I have also been kind of stuck on a specific manufacturer. I have done a bunch of research on Thor motor coaches. Their ownership and direction as well as some of the thought and R&D that is going into all of their product lines really has me wanting the Aria...maybe the 3401?

Anyway, you guys have all gave me great responses and I am very thankful as this is a huge decision that scares the hell out of me currently :)
 

ziplock

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Posts
400
Cheaper to just keep the sticks and bricks.............or is that no longer an option?

Seems like the goal is to to live Cheap, better to live in your home.

Why don't you want to live in your sticks and bricks?
 

Isaac-1

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Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
Let me make sure I read that right, you have a positive opinion about Thor? About the best things I can say about Thor is they have some interesting creative uses of space, and they have not completely ruined all the companies they have bought out. Though when it comes to build quality every Thor coach I have seen seems to be built with the cheapest materials they could find, by the lowest skilled people they could hire, using worn out saw blades for all the cuts, etc.
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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7,546
Location
Westminster, Colorado
I really like the idea of the engine brakes (I don't know if gassers have this), so I don't smoke my service brakes.
Gassers don't have those engine brakes, but don't need them nearly as badly as diesels do, either, since gearing down offers considerable resistance to acceleration. And all engine brakes are not created equal. The two stage compression brake in the Beaver I had would do very well, and going down the west side after crossing the Eisenhower tunnel (6% and 7% grades) stage two kept me from exceeding about 60 mph, which meant it was exactly right for that road. The variable geometry turbo (VGT) arrangement in my current Ventana isn't quite as strong as stage 1 was on the Beaver, which leaves me having to slow a lot to start down that grade, and requiring judicious use of the service brakes on the way down.

So you have to be aware of these differences -- an engine brake isn't necessarily going to keep you off the brakes, though it certainly helps a lot.
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
Cheaper to just keep the sticks and bricks.............or is that no longer an option?

Seems like the goal is to to live Cheap, better to live in your home.

Why don't you want to live in your sticks and bricks?
I am keeping the sticks and bricks, I am renting it out for a profit. Maybe I wasn't clear about my purpose in going down this path, but that wasn't really the point of this particular thread.

I have had a dream to travel the country since I was a kid and have never really been able to financially because I was a slacker until my daughter was born. I have spent the last 21 years 9 months (daughter was born in 2020) building a career in IT so I could afford to raise my daughter the best I could.

Skipping ahead 15 years...

I went through a period of losing people important to me starting around 2015. I had 2 different roommates die as well as my father and 2 BEST friends in quick succession. Soon after, I landed a new job and bought the house in 2017. Things were going good again, but I had no idea what was coming and wasn't prepared. I had the worst 2 years of my life after I lost my job in 2019. I almost died at least twice and almost lost my house. This was right about the time I was starting to make plans for how I wanted to travel too. My plans obviously changed when I lost my job, so I went to CDL school in Indiana where I got what I think now was Covid, but nobody knew it existed yet. I had no insurance, so I took some airborne and Nyquil and did my best (still passed the CDL test on the first attempt :). When Covid became public knowledge, I was working for FedEx to get some smaller truck experience, but it paid ~40k annually less than my prior job. I got scared about starting trucking with Covid in full swing and it being so new/unknown, but I couldn't make it with that salary, so I went back to IT. Unfortunately, I couldn't find good paying jobs until December, so I went further in debt and almost lost my house.

Now I make more money than I ever have in my life by ~$20k annually and its fully remote. I got my dream job and want to follow the rest of my dreams. The house will make a profit in rental as long as it is rented and I can afford $2,000/mo. above and beyond my current bills, so if it went unrented for the duration, I could still pay the mortgage and the RV / RV expenses. It is the right time and I am doing this no matter what anyone else says, even if I end up camping in a 2018 VW Passat. I am open to all the advice and it is very helpful, but I am not trying to live cheaper, I am trying to see the country and maybe Canada, Mexico or even further south (given I can do it safely).
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
Gassers don't have those engine brakes, but don't need them nearly as badly as diesels do, either, since gearing down offers considerable resistance to acceleration. And all engine brakes are not created equal. The two stage compression brake in the Beaver I had would do very well, and going down the west side after crossing the Eisenhower tunnel (6% and 7% grades) stage two kept me from exceeding about 60 mph, which meant it was exactly right for that road. The variable geometry turbo (VGT) arrangement in my current Ventana isn't quite as strong as stage 1 was on the Beaver, which leaves me having to slow a lot to start down that grade, and requiring judicious use of the service brakes on the way down.

So you have to be aware of these differences -- an engine brake isn't necessarily going to keep you off the brakes, though it certainly helps a lot.
The engine/transmissions ability to assist is what I don't understand about that particular scenario, but it is one I am fearful of. They teach the system you are referring to in CDL school. Slow down at the top of the hill before the downgrade, use engine brake between brake presses. Don't pump brakes, but apply them with the intent of really slowing and let off when you get your speed down, so they can cool. Never ride the brakes.

I get that bit, but this is very helpful dialog for sure because I am not a gear head and I don't know about all the engine/tranny stuff yet. So this leaves more options open I think, but do you think that this isn't a real concern regardless as long as I follow that smart grade braking process?
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
Let me make sure I read that right, you have a positive opinion about Thor? About the best things I can say about Thor is they have some interesting creative uses of space, and they have not completely ruined all the companies they have bought out. Though when it comes to build quality every Thor coach I have seen seems to be built with the cheapest materials they could find, by the lowest skilled people they could hire, using worn out saw blades for all the cuts, etc.
Saw blades, really? Are you trying to disparage me or just being funny? In my research, they are all made with Styrofoam walls. What materials do you mean? I watched a video detailing the build process (
). It was published by Thor, so I took it with a grain of salt. Having said that, unless they just made all of that build process up and they really use command strips and chewing gum to hold it together, they do put a lot of attention to detail in the build quality. Is it possible others have better build processes, yes, but at that price point? Maybe, and if they have I haven't found that information yet.

Maybe you have some positive suggestions for other brands I should look closely at? I know the Winnie is historically the most well known, but I think they are ugly and well known doesn't mean quality, but I wouldn't know. I guess I will spend more time researching, but I hoped this was a place I could find some positive advice and direction.
 
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