What was your biggest surprise after purchasing a motorhome?

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Mark2068

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Oct 8, 2021
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Toledo, Ohio
Thinking about purchasing our first (used) motorhome and spending about 80-100K. Like the idea of a Class A diesel or a Class C diesel or gas. We know what we want for features and we see some online that fall in our price range. We do not plan to become full-timers. But what we don't want to do is buy one then find we should of bought the other one. What are some things good and bad that you discovered after your purchases. What do you wish would have been different?

Thanks
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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4,941
Location
Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
The biggest surprise for us was the really neat view out the front window as you travel down the highway.
In a new Class A like mine! The large widows and great high view was one of the many reasons I picked my Class A. And I really like the sunshade by the press of a button.

My new RV will make me lazy. If I want to put the awning out, I press a button. Same to bring it back.

One of the beds is very high above the driver's seat. I press a button to bring it down low enough that no ladder is necessary.

-Don- Auburn, CA
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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SW Louisiana
It is very hard to know what features you will love, and what features you will hate about a given coach going into it, what I can tell you is that features that you thought were key will turn into features you don't care about a year or two down the road and things you never considered in your purchase will be things that go on your must have list for your next coach. There will also be things you learn to hate about whatever coach you buy, like that $#&@! cabinet door you repeatedly hit your head on.

Let me give you a random example of the sort of thing first time RV buyers don't consider, lets limit this to cargo compartments, do they have side or top opening doors, twist lock, slam lock, or key cam lock locking, do they have central locking / cargo bay lighting, roller trays, etc.? What is best, who knows many people prefer side opening cargo doors with slam locks, some people like central locking, which can be great until it does not work right. My coach has top hinge cargo doors and key cam barrel lock, I might prefer side hinge on a coach in the future, but for me this is not a show stopper. More important for me are things like a insulated heated wet bay for colder weather operation.

A couple of other things here, don't fixate on the things that are relatively easy to change, ie don't discount an otherwise great coach due to it having ugly curtains or a uncomfortable sofa, as these things can be changed for a small fraction of the price you will be paying for the coach.
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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Location
Westminster, Colorado
One thing I've loved on my current coach (and on my previous one) is hydronic heating -- Oasis brand on my Newmar and Aqua Hot on the Beaver I had. I've never seen this arrangement on a gas coach, I suspect partly because of cost, but partly gasoline is MUCH more volatile than diesel fuel. This is pertinent because the Oasis (or A.H.) provides furnace AND hot water and is powered both by electric (120V AC) and diesel fuel, individually selectable. When going down the road, engine heat keeps the circulating fluid hot, but otherwise it's either the diesel burner or the electric heating element, or both. Obviously when boondocking it's diesel only unless you're running the generator.

For furnace there are heat exchanges throughout the coach, and also one in the basement that keeps the basement at a minimum 0f 45º. On the Beaver there was also a tie in to the engine block heater, but my Ventana doesn't have that option installed.

The air ride is another thing that is great about the DPs, as is the (relatively) quiet cab up front.

Of course the tradeoff is expense, both for purchase and for maintenance, but I'm just hitting some highlights of why I'm happy with a DP with Hydronic heating.

Oh yes, this wasn't all a total surprise, especially on the second DP coach.
 

Mr Lars

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Mar 17, 2021
Posts
100
Location
Coleman, TX
The best ‘pleasant’ surprise is the ability to prepare food/coffee, while traveling down the road.
The most ‘unpleasant’ surprise is the lack of gas stations that are set-up for motorhome(gasoline) refueling.
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
There will also be things you learn to hate about whatever coach you buy, like that $#&@! cabinet door you repeatedly hit your head on.
In my new RV, every time I come out of the john, my belt loop gets stuck in the door handle!

The thing I can easily hit my head on is the slide outs when under them to do or get whatever. Now I know to keep one hand up there to remind me it's there.

I don't want my hard head to damage the slide-out! :)
-Don- Reno, NV
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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SW Louisiana
The first big thing I learned after buying our current coach on day 2 of ownership, before I had even made it home from buying it in Florida is that it can be extremely handy to have a self contained, self powered house when you are stuck in a nearly 4 hour long complete standstill traffic jam on I-10 just outside Tallahassee.

Stage 1, Sit in the drivers seat wondering how long I will be stuck here

Stage 2, Turn on the TV to see if the local news has any information on what is going on

Stage 3, Lay back on the sofa while watching out the front windshield to see if traffic starts moving, with the ability to get back to the drivers seat and be ready to move in 10-15 seconds.

Stage 4, watching the parade of people walking off to the treeline and back, and being glad I have a fully functioning bathroom.

Stage 5, Cooking a frozen pizza in the convection microwave

(The accident was caused by someone towing too big of travel trailer behind a SUV, flipping it and blocking all westbound lanes on I-10, only about half a mile ahead of where I was stuck)
 

UTTransplant

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Jul 20, 2014
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Cedar Falls, IA
We have been camping for 45-50 years starting with tents and moving through pop ups, hard sided TTs, and eventually to this motorhome (our first self-propelled rig). The biggest surprise was just how much I love that big front window! Ok, the house stuff is great, and I love that I can be anywhere on or off-grid with my apartment on wheels, but I love that window. Great for sightseeing while driving and great for just looking out when parked. Oh, and a diesel will keep you out of the hassle of getting a gas rig into tight gas stations.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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5,271
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SW Louisiana
Another big surprise is how much more solid the floor feels in a motorhome vs a travel trailer, while I skipped over the travel trailer ownership myself, going from camper van to class A with a gap in the middle where I owned a sailboat, I had family that owned them and shopped for them a number of times.
 

steveblonde

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Jan 8, 2015
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Location
calgary alberta
What a pain in the butt it is to break camp everytime you need to go to the store unless you have a toad. But them you need to stop in the middle of the road to unhook it.
Todays 5ers have every feature a motorhome does and take the same amount of set up time and you driving the toad which makes it easier and cheaper
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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74,990
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At my Silver Springs FL home
But what we don't want to do is buy one then find we should of bought the other one. What are some things good and bad that you discovered after your purchases. What do you wish would have been different?
A few of things I think are crucial but often overlooked:
  1. A place to put dirty laundry
  2. A place for a trash can or bag
  3. Shower large enough to stand in, wash, etc. [Try it]
  4. A toilet you can comfortably use [Try it]
  5. Size of the kitchen countertop work area (if you cook much) and a place for your favorite small appliances, e.g. toaster, coffee maker, etc. In-use and during travel.
  6. Convenient place for water & sewage hoses, electrical extensions, etc.
  7. [For tv fans] Can you easily see the tv from a comfortable seat? [Try it]
  8. Where will you use your computer & charge your phone?
 

climberbob

Active member
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Posts
30
The biggest surprise was that I had to get a front end alinement.
The next that there was 40 things wrong with the RV and had to get repaired.
Screws and junk under the flooring. Wipers would flip upside down. The bathroom would not stay closed.
How noisy it is driving down the road.
How something breaks every time I use it. Wiper switch malfunctions. Shower leaks, Louvers come loose .
How much I like to camp.
 

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