New Solo RVer

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
In new class A coaches there really are not a lot of options, most seem to either be owned by Thor or Winnebago, either that are they are ultra high end models, Tiffin is still a good buy for the money, though they just announced that they were selling out to Thor a few months ago. As to build quality go look at some in person, notice the cabinet doors that don't line up, the laminate counter tops with corners so jagged that they are like running your finger across a hack saw blade. Not to mention the oopsies like electrical panels held on by 2 screws because the other 2 screws have hole that are stripped out, or drain plumbing left unconnected under the sink.
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
In new class A coaches there really are not a lot of options, most seem to either be owned by Thor or Winnebago, either that are they are ultra high end models, Tiffin is still a good buy for the money, though they just announced that they were selling out to Thor a few months ago. As to build quality go look at some in person, notice the cabinet doors that don't line up, the laminate counter tops with corners so jagged that they are like running your finger across a hack saw blade. Not to mention the oopsies like electrical panels held on by 2 screws because the other 2 screws have hole that are stripped out, or drain plumbing left unconnected under the sink.
I think that is actually what I am missing. I haven't been able to put my hands on one since I started looking. I live in Nashville, TN and there are a few larger places here, but they mostly just have trailers and 5th wheel options. I didn't find a single spot with a diesel pusher aside from service dept. vehicles, which I don't wanna put my hands on :)

I am not ok with the oopsies and stripped screws. I would think they would stand behind their product if they don't get it right. Even with all the testing and quality control, some things will slip through the cracks. This is why I don't care what part of the country I buy an RV from. I want a relationship with the seller and some kind of warranty for things like that. This is what leads me toward a new RV as well. Someone that had stripped screws may not have fixed that properly leading to more issues later. If new, I would be able to bring it in to fix little things like that I would hope. If I couldn't, I certainly wouldn't buy their product.

I do see a lot of Thor RV's on the market which isn't a good sign and I have heard bad things about the Palazzo specifically, from the plastic sink and faucet in the bath to the horror stories I read of complete mechanical failures right off the lot which I found later is a more common occurrence than I expected overall. I haven't found those stories about the Aria or at least as horrifying, but it is the same company, so I guess it's possible the problems are systemic rather than model specific.

I would like to have something under 35 feet, but the likelihood of finding what I need in something that length seems unlikely in the diesel pusher class. In any case, because of all the horror stories I have heard, I plan to stay in the area for at least a month or so driving the RV and putting it through it's paces, so those little things can be fixed without having to drive it across the country to the dealer again. Clearly, it would be different if I bought from an individual as far as ongoing support is concerned, but it seems buying from an individual would cost more as that is a depreciation avoidance method. Buy low, sell high ;)
 

SargeW

Site Team
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Posts
7,976
Location
Where ever we park it!
Tiffin was the last major family owned manufacturer out there, but they just were merged with Thor. So far, Bob Tiffin, is still the head of the company and will be for the foreseeable future.

Most of the modern Class A rigs are built along the same lines. The processes are very similar, and many of the appliances are all from just a few manufacturers. To really step up into another level of craftmanship, you would need to go to Newell or Prevost, but at a million plus, you better have a healthy check book.

Tiffin, Newmar, and Entegra are all similar in construction and amenities, so floor plan and features separate the brands. I have had many new RV's, more than I care to count. The analogy of buy used and get one that "has the bugs worked out" is a hope. If you bought one that was owned by someone like me, that would probably be true. However, I have personally known many RV owners that have just traded in their "basket of problems" on a different rig and hoped for the best. The next owner got to deal with whatever was wrong with the rig, without the benefit of a warranty.

Bottom line, it's your choice. Make your decision and take the plunge.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
15,570
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
I agree, Thor would be my last choice. You should not be stuck on one particular brand. There are hundreds of RV manufacturers in the last 30 years and looking for a particular brand that is close to you, priced reasonably, in excellent condition and having a floor plan you love is almost impossible. You should shop local RV dealers and find something for sale that you really love. I would not get a
class B, too expensive and way too small. Go sit in your bathroom for a few days to get the idea of what it is like owning a B. I have owned As, Bs, Cs during my ten years of full timing and now I am parked in a fiver. I suggest an A DP is the way to go.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
Also don't expect warranty problems to be fixed in a month, you would be lucky to get them to look at it within a month from what I hear of most RV service departments, not to mention the warranty approval and repair process. If getting initial build quality items fixed in a timely manner is important to you, then you might look into a brand that allows factory pickup (at an additional fee), Newmar is one that comes to mind, where you get a couple of days of time with a technician to go through the coach living in it at their on site rv park and come up with your punch list of issues, then some number of included hours of technician time to make the repairs before you are required to leave and schedule another service appointment.

Having said all this I would highly encourage you to take some time and do some looking at a few dealerships with motorhomes on hand, even if inventory is low due to the covid camping craze. My advice would be take a trip to Texas, go to PPL and then NIRVC in the Dallas, TX area (NIRVC also has a location in Nashville), followed by a 3 hour drive down to Motorhomes of Texas in Nacogdoches and see some coaches in person.

PPL to get a sampling of what is out there, this is a consignment dealer, that just shovels stuff out there, with no real prep, where you will likely see broken door knobs, torn fabric, etc., but also a variety of examples from many manufacturers. NIRVC where you will see both new and old coaches, and where you might consider buying, and Motorhomes of Texas to see well cleaned and staged used coaches, almost all used upper end and premium coaches connected to power with air conditioners running. The overall problem is thanks to covid inventory is going to be thin, dealers that had 40-50 coaches on the lot 2 years ago have 10 today.
 

jackiemac

Site Team
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Posts
5,697
Location
Scotland
Hi and welcome! I think whatever brand you choose, new or used, it will be important to do a thorough inspection. That way you hopefully know what the problems are. If not doing it yourself make sure you gey a qualified and independent inspector. It will be worth it.

I have seen people complain about many manufacturers including Winnebago. One member here had a real nightmare with them. You will likely get negative responses from people who have had bad experiences and vice versa.

I think the floor plan that suits how you are going to live is key. As Judy asked, are you really likely to have 6 people sleeping in it? This could mean getting a floor plan that is only needed for a few weeks a year limiting your other requirements.

You have discounted 5th wheels and trailers but one thing to consider is if you need to tow another vehicle then you have 2 engines to maintain, this was one of our considerations. We can take the truck almost anywhere for service or repairs too.

The 5th wheels I have been in are very spacious and could be a good option, have you had a look at some?

We love the freedom the trailer gives us. We can head off to remote areas with the truck and even camp if we feel like it. Which you can obviously do if towing a truck or jeep.

We bought new as we wanted to ensure that we would have full knowledge of any problems and that it was clean.

Do a search on the forum for options for WiFi as that will certainly be a problem in lots of areas, particularly out West and definitely in the more remote areas.

It's good that you are doing thorough research before jumping in, that will be a good investment.

Hopefully you can find the perfect rig for you!
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
I agree, Thor would be my last choice. You should not be stuck on one particular brand. There are hundreds of RV manufacturers in the last 30 years and looking for a particular brand that is close to you, priced reasonably, in excellent condition and having a floor plan you love is almost impossible. You should shop local RV dealers and find something for sale that you really love. I would not get a
class B, too expensive and way too small. Go sit in your bathroom for a few days to get the idea of what it is like owning a B. I have owned As, Bs, Cs during my ten years of full timing and now I am parked in a fiver. I suggest an A DP is the way to go.
"Stuck on" was probably the wrong choice of words. I guess I meant the current direction I am leaning. Honestly, I have heard good things about Tiffin, Entegra and Newmar. Out of those 3 I really like the Entegra's features and quality, but it also seems to be the most expensive of the 3. Having said that, there isn't a good single resource that I have found that compares models in the same length and category and gives specs and average prices. Many manufacturers do that for their own models, but an independent site that offered this for all makes & models would be a great resource for the first time buyer.

So, I am unsure if the prices I am finding are realistic. I am sure that is the price they want, but what it is worth is usually a different number.
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
Hi and welcome! I think whatever brand you choose, new or used, it will be important to do a thorough inspection. That way you hopefully know what the problems are. If not doing it yourself make sure you gey a qualified and independent inspector. It will be worth it.

I have seen people complain about many manufacturers including Winnebago. One member here had a real nightmare with them. You will likely get negative responses from people who have had bad experiences and vice versa.

I think the floor plan that suits how you are going to live is key. As Judy asked, are you really likely to have 6 people sleeping in it? This could mean getting a floor plan that is only needed for a few weeks a year limiting your other requirements.

You have discounted 5th wheels and trailers but one thing to consider is if you need to tow another vehicle then you have 2 engines to maintain, this was one of our considerations. We can take the truck almost anywhere for service or repairs too.

The 5th wheels I have been in are very spacious and could be a good option, have you had a look at some?

We love the freedom the trailer gives us. We can head off to remote areas with the truck and even camp if we feel like it. Which you can obviously do if towing a truck or jeep.

We bought new as we wanted to ensure that we would have full knowledge of any problems and that it was clean.

Do a search on the forum for options for WiFi as that will certainly be a problem in lots of areas, particularly out West and definitely in the more remote areas.

It's good that you are doing thorough research before jumping in, that will be a good investment.

Hopefully you can find the perfect rig for you!
Very good feedback Jackie. Thank you.

I have looked at the travel trailers and 5th wheels and haven't completely discounted them, but there are some limitations and challenges I am fearful of. You hit the nail on the head with not having 2 motors to maintain. That is the one thing that keeps me going back and looking at them again when I have trouble in the motor home search. I still think there is hope to find a diesel pusher under 35 feet which could give me the flexibility to dry camp without a toad at more places, so until that hope is completely dashed, I will keep looking under that rock. The likely scenario is, through conversations here, someone will eventually break me of some of my bad buying habits and get me pointed in the right direction. So, I see me ending up in a class C or a travel trailer before it is all said and done, but I can't abandon the hope yet.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
15,570
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
"Stuck on" was probably the wrong choice of words. I guess I meant the current direction I am leaning. Honestly, I have heard good things about Tiffin, Entegra and Newmar. Out of those 3 I really like the Entegra's features and quality, but it also seems to be the most expensive of the 3. Having said that, there isn't a good single resource that I have found that compares models in the same length and category and gives specs and average prices. Many manufacturers do that for their own models, but an independent site that offered this for all makes & models would be a great resource for the first time buyer.

So, I am unsure if the prices I am finding are realistic. I am sure that is the price they want, but what it is worth is usually a different number.
You won't find any place that compares RVs. They are too expensive to buy and manufacturers don't loan them out for trials. You are still thinking like you are buying a car. Buying an RV is nothing like buying a car. Stop worrying about the manufacturer, the name on the badge is pretty meaningless. What is important is floor plan, price and condition. Find one you like in your price range that is in great condition and quit worrying about who makes it. Condition of a used rig is way more important.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
15,570
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
Very good feedback Jackie. Thank you.

I have looked at the travel trailers and 5th wheels and haven't completely discounted them, but there are some limitations and challenges I am fearful of. You hit the nail on the head with not having 2 motors to maintain. That is the one thing that keeps me going back and looking at them again when I have trouble in the motor home search. I still think there is hope to find a diesel pusher under 35 feet which could give me the flexibility to dry camp without a toad at more places, so until that hope is completely dashed, I will keep looking under that rock. The likely scenario is, through conversations here, someone will eventually break me of some of my bad buying habits and get me pointed in the right direction. So, I see me ending up in a class C or a travel trailer before it is all said and done, but I can't abandon the hope yet.
Here is one that is close:

 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,693
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
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.
Ignoring the engineering details and looking purely from the driver perspective, a gasoline engines slows you down as soon as you back off the accelerator pedal whereas a diesel does not. The gas engine inherently has built-in internal resistance (engine braking) when coasting, whereas a diesel has none by itself. An exhaust or engine brake compensates for that lack in a diesel, and generally provides more resistance braking than any gas engine generates on its own. So yes, you most always get more engine braking with a suitably equipped diesel. Exhaust or engine brakes used to be optional, but most all diesel-powered trucks & coaches now have them as standard equipment.
The only difference in downhill technique between gas & diesel is the use of the engine/exhaust brake and that difference is due to the inherent difference in the engines.
 

Ex-Calif

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
1,266
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.

Linda

There is truth to this if you plan to keep the asset a long time. The depreciation long term is a trade off for getting everything new. Unfortunately what happens (primarily with cars) is that people replace them after 5 years and a "zero down" deal and then trade in with a dealer (lowball) and then roll the upside down part of the loan into the next loan.


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.
I read the OP as having a significant desire to boondock with A/C - It's perfectly viable to use a Class A or other built in generator or buy one external.

The only issue with that is noise restrictions.

But the term "dry camping" got my attention and I interpreted that as no hooks ups at all.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,693
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Some major RV makers are being ignored in this discussion. Rev Group owns several brands of motorhomes (American Coach, Fleetwood, Renegade, Monaco, Holiday Rambler) and each brand has a range of price/feature offerings. Forest River make motorhomes as well as trailers, and Dynamax & Nexus are smaller but important motorhome makers as well. There is a lot more available out there than you may think.

It may be worth your while to take a vacation in one of the RV/motorhome meccas, e.g. southwest Florida (Tampa & Ft Meyers areas), south Texas, or Phoenix/Tucson. Take a week and you can see literally hundreds of new & used motorhomes in any of those places. Each area has mega-dealers that each have 100+ coaches on their sales lot, plus many more mid-size dealers as well. Go out and kick some tires.
 

Larry N.

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Posts
7,547
Location
Westminster, Colorado
I plan to stay in the area for at least a month or so driving the RV and putting it through it's paces, so those little things can be fixed without having to drive it across the country to the dealer again.
Note what Isaac says about often taking a month or longer before you can even get an appointment, let alone repair time, warranty repair approval, etc. Also note what he says about factory pickup as a possible solution for that.

I've been very pleased with my 2016 Newmar Ventana that I bought new, and with the dealer (Transwest in Firestone, CO, just north of Denver) service. Their two hour plus show-me-around-and-through when I took delivery was well done and thorough (take a camcorder to any such). It appears they'd done an excellent job of checking it out before delivery, since there was little warranty work needed -- the couple of warranty items I had (a knob on the dash that broke and a roll-up window shade) were quickly handled. One warranty item was not ABLE to be handled by them, because of Onan/Cummins' policies (they could have done the work, but...) that the generator warranty work be done ONLY by a Cummins/Onan owned service facility. That took a little time, but there was no charge to me, and the problem took 6 months to show up in the first place -- probably "infant mortality" in the electronics on a (deeply buried) control board.

But the term "dry camping" got my attention and I interpreted that as no hooks ups at all.
Dan, perhaps I'm misunderstanding your comment, but to me "boondocking" and "dry camping" and "no hookups" essentially mean the same thing, so the generator works well. If noise (other than quiet hours overnight) is a problem, then you need hookups, but that wouldn't be a location I'd choose for boondocking, and I'd think it would be something like "city stealth" or something.
 

dmason5913

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Posts
20
Location
Nashville, TN
There is truth to this if you plan to keep the asset a long time. The depreciation long term is a trade off for getting everything new. Unfortunately what happens (primarily with cars) is that people replace them after 5 years and a "zero down" deal and then trade in with a dealer (lowball) and then roll the upside down part of the loan into the next loan.



I read the OP as having a significant desire to boondock with A/C - It's perfectly viable to use a Class A or other built in generator or buy one external.

The only issue with that is noise restrictions.

But the term "dry camping" got my attention and I interpreted that as no hooks ups at all.
So the best definitions I have found are below. Please, let me know if any of this is wrong:

  1. Dry camping/Boondocking - simply means no hookups. This could be Wal-Mart or in the woods off-grid on BLM or forestry land etc. I guess it could also include RV parks without hookups, but I am not sure if that is even a thing. I believe Harvest Hosts would fall into this category as well.
  2. Stealth camping - specifically refers to camping illegally in a stealthy manner like a mini-van. I don't agree with this practice. I heard people will even do it in neighborhoods which is a good way to get the cops called on you.
  3. Mooch camping - parking at friends houses or property. Usually this is also some degree of dry camping as they probably won't have a dump. I am not sure how it counts for partial hookups.
Not sure if I left anything out, but that is my understanding.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
I would tend to say that your definitions are close, though there are those that will distinguish boondocking from other forms of dry camping, ie boondocking is when you are in the middle of nowhere at an entirely improvised site, perhaps adjacent to an improved road, such as in a national forest, or perhaps not. These people also feel that it is incorrect to use the term boondocking for overnighting in rest areas (legal in some states), parking lots, or even in dry camping only campgrounds (these are typical found in national forest, and either paved or gravel rv sites, often picnic tables, a central pit toilet building, and perhaps a central water fill station.

Parking lot camping at Wal-Mart, Flying J, Cracker Barrel, or other locations that allow overnight RV parking is often called Wally-docking regardless if it is at a Wal-Mart or not

Stealth / city camping may or may not be legal, the point with it is to be unobtrusive as even if it is legal in a location that is no gaurantee of not being harrassed either by the police or others. This is often done in places where it is a legal gray area.

Mooch camping or Mooch-docking is camping out in someones driveway, this will often include limited electrical (120V-15 amp or 20 amp standard outlet) to plug into, and possible connection for a water hose to fill the water tanks.
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
10,767
Very good feedback Jackie. Thank you.

I still think there is hope to find a diesel pusher under 35 feet which could give me the flexibility to dry camp without a toad at more places, so until that hope is completely dashed, I will keep looking under that rock.
35 ft. is pretty much the lower limit for a diesel pusher. The drivetrain is just too long and heavy and extends too far behind the rear axle to fit in anything smaller.

There are some front engine diesel (FRED) motorhomes, but that puts the engine up front with you.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
4,278
Location
SW Louisiana
I think the shortest diesel PUSHERS out there is the Tiffin Alegro Breeze 31BR introduced a couple of years ago at just under 32 ft. A few other companies also offered 32 and 34 ft diesel pushers in the early 2000's (Country Coach, Foretravel, Safari, and Winnebago come to mind), but not many were built of any of them.
 
Top Bottom