Transitioning from Toy Hauler to Class C - What to consider?

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.

SantaCruzin

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Posts
55
Howdy all!

My wife and I are in the process of trying to sell our 2006 Weekend Warrior FS2300 Toy Hauler (and 2015 F250 Lariat) and are looking to get a 26-foot-or-less Class C. A few main reasons:
? While we do take motorcycles in our Toy Hauler, we also have a newfound love of simply traveling to RV parks, lakes, etc. Our thought is that a motorhome will be more versatile as we can tow a motorcycle trailer, our small sailboat, or my Mini Cooper rather than being stuck with a truck and trailer.
? We have a 2-year old and another on the way in the next few weeks. While I know it is safer for kids in car seats to be in a truck towing a trailer, my wife really likes the idea of being able to be in the RV while traveling.
? We live on California's central coast. While my 1968 VW Bus fits the bill sometimes, we'd love to be able to just jump in the RV and head up or down the coast for the night on a whim...not really possible with the trailer.

So, a few questions:
1. Our budget is up to $30,000 for the right RV, but we are really looking more in the $20,000 range. For this amount, it seems as though early-2000's RVs can be had with low miles (under 50,000) or you can get 2010-ish RVs with higher miles (over 100,000). I am a Ford guy but am not familiar with the V10 engines...Should I avoid the high mileage?
2. For the next few years, our kids will be in car seats and/or boosters. Is that possible with RVs? What do I need to look for?
3. Is towing a trailer with an RV this size reasonable? I know many of them have 5,000 lb tow ratings but they also seem to only have 500 lb tongue weights.
4. When I bought my Toy Hauler I was pretty lucky in that the guy selling it was very open and honest. It was my first RV so I had NO idea what to look for. Now I have a pretty good understanding of the systems but is there anything I should specifically be looking at when looking to buy?

Thank you all SO much for any help you can provide!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,621
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
Lots of different questions; I hardly no where to start but wanted you to know you aren't being ignored.

Yes, a C coach will tow a 3500-4500 lb trailer fine. Many tow cars in that same weight class.

The Ford V10 is a robust engine, but I'd try to stay under 100k miles so that I could enjoy another 30k-50k of use. Remember, there is more to making a vehicle go than the engine alone - transmission, starter, alternator, front suspension & steering, radiator, etc. They all have finite lifetimes.

Finding safe seating for 3 kids in a Class C is going to be a challenge. They basically have two real seats and the rest is designed for use when parked rather than underway.
 

SantaCruzin

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Posts
55
Thank you Gary!

In regards to mileage, that was going to be my follow up question. What the engine is good for is one thing, the other parts is another matter. I work on my vehicles all the time so don't mind doing work on things like alternators, but I have to imagine that the chassis can take quite a bit of abuse over 100,000 miles.

I guess another way to put the question: for Class-C RVs, which is more concerning: age or mileage? I know it's hard to say as each individual RV is different, but a 20 year old RV with 30,000 miles has still seen lots of sun, moisture, etc. A 10 year old RV with 100,000 miles may have seen more miles, but it's seen 10 less years of exposure.

I know from old vehicles that time causes wear...cracked hoses, dried bearing, rust, etc.
 

Ernie n Tara

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
4,221
Location
Ft Myers, FL
A Class A in the 30 to 32 ft size range. More room, same price, more storage, larger tanks, better to drive (visual,etc.), seating for child seats, etc., etc.

Ernie
 
X

X-Roughneck

Guest
SantaCruzin said:
Howdy all!

My wife and I are in the process of trying to sell our 2006 Weekend Warrior FS2300 Toy Hauler (and 2015 F250 Lariat) and are looking to get a 26-foot-or-less Class C. A few main reasons:
? While we do take motorcycles in our Toy Hauler, we also have a newfound love of simply traveling to RV parks, lakes, etc. Our thought is that a motorhome will be more versatile as we can tow a motorcycle trailer, our small sailboat, or my Mini Cooper rather than being stuck with a truck and trailer.
? We have a 2-year old and another on the way in the next few weeks. While I know it is safer for kids in car seats to be in a truck towing a trailer, my wife really likes the idea of being able to be in the RV while traveling.
? We live on California's central coast. While my 1968 VW Bus fits the bill sometimes, we'd love to be able to just jump in the RV and head up or down the coast for the night on a whim...not really possible with the trailer.

So, a few questions:
1. Our budget is up to $30,000 for the right RV, but we are really looking more in the $20,000 range. For this amount, it seems as though early-2000's RVs can be had with low miles (under 50,000) or you can get 2010-ish RVs with higher miles (over 100,000). I am a Ford guy but am not familiar with the V10 engines...Should I avoid the high mileage?
2. For the next few years, our kids will be in car seats and/or boosters. Is that possible with RVs? What do I need to look for?
3. Is towing a trailer with an RV this size reasonable? I know many of them have 5,000 lb tow ratings but they also seem to only have 500 lb tongue weights.
4. When I bought my Toy Hauler I was pretty lucky in that the guy selling it was very open and honest. It was my first RV so I had NO idea what to look for. Now I have a pretty good understanding of the systems but is there anything I should specifically be looking at when looking to buy?

Thank you all SO much for any help you can provide!

Santa C.,

I was once at Ft Ord, CA, Monterrey, Seaside back in the day.  Loved the area the Central Coast is so beuatiful!  26' and 2 kids would be tight in my mind, but I don't know you either. I have a 2017, 32 ft Class C/V10 and for me and the wife and 2 dogs currently makes things tight at 32'. I understand budgeting though for sure. I am impressed with the V10.  I am 60 tow-65 mph max no tow and there is enough power to get you there for sure.  I have not climbed the mountains to go out west, but I am not scared with the V10.  Most of the time I am at 3K or under on the TAC, I might have it singing to me going over the western mountains but I am going to get there my friend.  Bank on it.  You sound young, but we are not waiting to fall apart physically.  We are going for it.  Money only gets in the way.  You can do it on the cheap, look on RV trader and set the filters for your wheel house, options $$ etc.  Think about the lifelong memories for those kids.  Good Luck.  You only have one life to live.  What are you waiting for? Go For it!

JD
 

plastrd

New member
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Posts
1
We're new parents with an almost 1 year old that previously had a 24ft trailer and we just bought a 25ft class C for some of the same reasons.
You'll find lots of mixed comments on the internet about small kids in an RV but I think you just have to be pragmatic about it. You'll read all sorts of comments ranging from "it's fine" to "you're the worst parent in the world". I've decided to be part of the "it's fine" camp. You can go look up crash test videos on YouTube if you want to swing the other way but if you watch those, you probably wouldn't put an adult in the back of one either.

In that size range, you'll have the two cab seats and most likely a dinette that has two seatbelts on the front facing bench. Our infant car seat (the sort that usually snaps onto a base) doesn't fit on the bench because the table is too close. I think some day a front facing seat might fit but for now the dinette gets folded down into bed mode, our son faces the rear and his seat is belted down to the bench like it would in any other car. My wife hangs out with him and keeps him entertained on the road and I sit up front by myself most of the time.

There are some layouts with a side-facing sofa and removable table or a pair of recliners instead of the dinette. I would really have preferred that because dinette booths are uncomfortable for hanging out and watching TV but for whatever reason I decided to draw the line at needing to be able to have the car seat rear-facing.
 

wae

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Posts
108
Location
Northern Kentucky
The 6.8 Vortec is a very robust motor that, when properly maintained, will give you great service life.  They like to sing, so expect to have to wring them out a bit.  The good news in that is that they're designed to run in that 2-3k RPM range so they're a bit more efficient there.  True story: I've got one of those in my Excursion and I get better gas mileage at 70-75mph than 60-65.

If the coach has good maintenance records documenting oil changes, transmission oil changes, and other routine maintenance then there is not much to be scared about on a 100k+ V10.  Check the underside for signs of leaks both current and historical.  One thing that might be a bit troublesome in the van chassis is the problem with the exhaust manifold studs.  Those have a propensity to break which will give you an exhaust leak that can sound dead on to a rod knock in a lot of cases.  In a truck or F53 chassis it's not a terrible job but I have no idea what it's like in a van - but nothing under the hoodlet is easy in a van.  These engines also do burn a little bit of oil so they need to be watched the more they age.  It's not a big problem unless they're allowed to run low.  Early V10s (pre 05, I think) had a head design that only provided a couple threads for the plugs and the factory torque spec was really low.  Because of that, the plugs would work loose and then shoot out requiring the spark plug hole to be drilled out and a Timersert insert to be installed.  It isn't that big of a deal, but if you get what sounds like lifter tick, especially on cold start up and especially especially one that comes and goes, it is very likely a loose plug.  Give the plugs a little righty-tighty to 25ish pound-feet of torque and it'll be fixed.  Also, buy a replacement ignition coil (it's a COP system) and put it in a cabinet somewhere along with a 7mm socket and ratchet.  You will get a misfire, it will be a coil failure, you will be able to get off the road and in to a safe place, and you will be able to fix it in a few minutes and be on your way.

To me, the determining factor between a 2000 model with 30k versus a 2010 model with 100k would come down to the maintenance records as far as the mechanicals are concerned.  Bad maintenance for 30k miles wears the engine a lot less than bad maintenance for 100k miles!
 

SantaCruzin

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Posts
55
Thank you all SO much for the information! Exactly the kind of questions I was hoping to have answered and I sincerely appreciate your time.

I'm sure there are a lot of posts on this, but while I have everyone's attention and have been able to explain my specific needs, are previous rentals as good of a deal as some people try to make them out to be? There is a local 2008 Four Winds Majestic 23A with 154k miles for sale right now at a very reasonable price which has 6 years left on the warranty. It is basically the exact layout we are after and the newer model is definitely enticing. I assume (just by looking at upholstery) that these are "discount models" but we have two kids...I don't need (or want) amazing upholstery.  Are they as well maintained as people insinuate?
 

TheBar

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Posts
1,297
Location
MS
I would question the 6 year warranty. Even if you meant 2018 instead of 2008 the standard Ford warranty is 36K miles and the extended warranty is only good up to 150K miles. Is the warranty provided by the rental company and if so how far can you trust them?

154K miles is at the upper limit before having frequent drivetrain and suspension problems. RV's are generally more expensive to repair and there are fewer mechanics who will or even can work on them due to the height and weight. IMHO you would be better off with an older one with fewer miles. With an RV the condition is far more important than the age. 
 

SantaCruzin

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Posts
55
Sorry, I misunderstood his comment on the warranty. When he bought it he got a 6 year power train warranty from the company (Cruise America) and it currently has a little over a year left on it. But, as you point out and I mentioned before, I would imagine that the wear on the rest of the chassis is as much, if not more, of a concern than the engine.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,621
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
On buying a rental unit, you will get opinions from the two extremes: it's either "Never!" or "Attractive deal".  The "Never" responses of course come from people who never bought one.  Cruise America gives a pretty good warranty (is it transferrable?) but that's small consolation if you get stranded with the family on a Sunday evening in West Podunk Falls.

In any case, 154k miles is a lot on any gas-powered RV, both in terms of chassis wear & tear and a general indication of heavy use. I'd keep on shopping. But at 100k or less, I'd give it serious consideration. There have been many previous discussions here about buying rental RVs, so take a look if that seems attractive to you. The prices are quite decent and it's one of the few ways to buy used and get a warranty.
 
X

X-Roughneck

Guest
Gary RV_Wizard said:
A Sunday evening in stranded West Podunk Falls.

Podunk, Bumdunk? Little cloudy, but I think I might have spent a extended weekend there one time?

Santa, In the end it is you and Mama at the Poker Table of Life. 

You are playing with your hard earned chips $$.   

You sound like you are saving some cash for Gas and food, atta boy! Wink..

I would throw caution to the wind and go for the new DutchStar if I was you.  ;) 

BTW, I love spending other people's hard earned Money, so let's tack on a brand new Jeep with all the Bells and Whistles for that 4 down tow.

Those Kids are going to have Great Life long Memories for sure even if you took them in a beater RV with a blow up raft to check the trot line. 

I think it would even enhance the memories at +50 years later.

Good Luck in finding that RV.  The one you are looking for is out there.

JD
 

SantaCruzin

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Posts
55
X-Roughneck, I love that mentality and couldn't agree more. As long as it's safe (or as safe as possible) I really don't mind if it has a bit of extra character...in fact I prefer it! Yes, my daily driver is a modern car but despite being born in the late 80s, most vehicles I've owned are from the 70s. Countless old Honda CBs, a couple of old full-size Jeeps, a 1968 VW Bus, etc. etc. The trips I remember most vividly often involved a break down or two.

Here are two examples of the types of options I have in my "$20k or under" budget.

You either have a 2010-ish with 100k+ miles, like this one I looked at last night: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/rvs/d/aptos-2008-four-winds-majestic-23a/7092362980.html

Or you have a 2000-ish with 50k-ish miles, like this one I really want to check out: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/rvd/d/lodi-1998-class-jamboree-23ft-rear-bed/7091184769.html
 

wae

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Posts
108
Location
Northern Kentucky
Of those two, I think the '98 would be a much better buy.  A careful inspection might reveal facts that would alter that opinion, of course, but the older one looks very well maintained and the mileage isn't so low that I'd be worried about things.
 
X

X-Roughneck

Guest
SantaCruzin said:
X-Roughneck, I love that mentality and couldn't agree more. As long as it's safe (or as safe as possible) I really don't mind if it has a bit of extra character...in fact I prefer it! Yes, my daily driver is a modern car but despite being born in the late 80s, most vehicles I've owned are from the 70s. Countless old Honda CBs, a couple of old full-size Jeeps, a 1968 VW Bus, etc. etc. The trips I remember most vividly often involved a break down or two.

Here are two examples of the types of options I have in my "$20k or under" budget.

You either have a 2010-ish with 100k+ miles, like this one I looked at last night: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/rvs/d/aptos-2008-four-winds-majestic-23a/7092362980.html

Or you have a 2000-ish with 50k-ish miles, like this one I really want to check out: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/rvd/d/lodi-1998-class-jamboree-23ft-rear-bed/7091184769.html

Santa,

Listen to What Wae and the others said.  Kick the Tires.  Give it the once over.  Crawl under it and get dirty, Young 'en, and look with your eyes.  If you are apprehensive then have a Gear Head look at the engine and assess the Tranny for you, cheap Pre-Look when you're thinking about throwing $15-$20K at it.  The Box houses mounted on the OEM cheap suspensions are all particle board and cheap plastics so you know the house end is going to provide a adventure/problem or two or three or four.  That is just a expected Hazard of Getting Out there where you want to be with your pack.  Take your bailing wire and 100MPH tape along with the Leather man and swiss Army Knife and you should be good.  ;D

If the motor and tranny is sound the particle board shacks both look pretty good for their age.  ;D 

Hopefully the pics are not from when they bought it 10 years ago, wink.

Go Cheap and at least make sure those tires are not Ripe for Popping when you are rolling down Highway 1 looking at the Left Coast.

Be those Kids Santa.  Give them the Gift of a Great Child Hood and memories when they are young.  You are on your way.  I sense it.  I got the vibe from your words.

Good Luck. Don't be a stranger 'round here.

I learned a couple HARD lessons in my youth.  Don't wait for tomorrow.  Tomorrow may never come.

JD
 
Top Bottom