Which Make?

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CWO

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Joined
Oct 22, 2018
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4
Hello everyone, my wife and I are fairly new to RVing and now looking to stop renting and buy our own RV. I've been nosing around the forum but not participated and I've read a lot of the comments about all RVs having issues and the priority being satisfaction with floor plan. We are torn between a Class A and B for a number of reasons but mainly two considerations: I'm a 100% disabled retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer and I have chronic back pain and management issues that limits how much maintenance and setup/breakdown I can do so most of it falls to my wife and also the difficulty of using a class A for local site seeing once we reach a destination. Class A driver seats tend to be more comfortable and we enjoy the space. But a class C is easier to park and maneuver at local site seeing spots. We found a good deal on a class c 2018 Thor Synergy with Summit package and we like it a lot but...almost everything I read, and quite a few dealers, have nothing positive to say about Thor RVs.  We also found a very nice used class A 2017 Fleetwood 34S Storm that we really like (especially the combo washer/dryer!). So I appreciate the collective wisdom of the forum in providing us with your experience and recommendations to help us move forward. Thanks to all!
 

AnRVAndADog

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Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Posts
380
Location
Port Richey, FL
CWO said:
Hello everyone, my wife and I are fairly new to RVing and now looking to stop renting and buy our own RV. I've been nosing around the forum but not participated and I've read a lot of the comments about all RVs having issues and the priority being satisfaction with floor plan. We are torn between a Class A and B for a number of reasons but mainly two considerations: I'm a 100% disabled retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer and I have chronic back pain and management issues that limits how much maintenance and setup/breakdown I can do so most of it falls to my wife and also the difficulty of using a class A for local site seeing once we reach a destination. Class A driver seats tend to be more comfortable and we enjoy the space. But a class C is easier to park and maneuver at local site seeing spots. We found a good deal on a class c 2018 Thor Synergy with Summit package and we like it a lot but...almost everything I read, and quite a few dealers, have nothing positive to say about Thor RVs.  We also found a very nice used class A 2017 Fleetwood 34S Storm that we really like (especially the combo washer/dryer!). So I appreciate the collective wisdom of the forum in providing us with your experience and recommendations to help us move forward. Thanks to all!

We're new too. We spent almost a year looking around, watching YouTube videos before we even went to see an RV in person. One of the first things I noticed was you don't see many used Winnebagos around and you do see a lot of used Thors around. Once we introduced ourselves to RVs in person it was obvious why used Thors are everywhere. They're on the low end of quality and Winnebagos are the high end of quality. Winnebago owners keep them (forever), Thor owners are much more eager to move up after a few years.

Class A vs Class C: You still have the cockpit forward. But on a Class C you have a bed that we thought was a waste of space. We weren't gonna sleep up there, we can't even climb up there (we're not disabled, just old). Maybe I could store a couple of rifles and a shotgun up there? I dunno. With a Class A you always get more storage above the cockpit (on mine I have 2 small cabinets, 2 regular cabinets, and 1 huge cabinet (after I remove that useless TV)). So more storage was a plus.

Driving a Class C wasn't impressive. Not really any different than driving a big pickup truck. Driving a Class A is WAAAY different. It's Boss-like. It's YOUR road now. Massive visibility. But it's very comfortable to drive. Our older Winnebago drives beautifully but it does take a bit more time to come to a complete stop. (About a day and a half, just kidding.) After 3 weekend trips I can say we'll never own a Class C.

Fleetwood is a high-quality rig. We almost bought one. It was 35' with a washer/dryer. But we're weekend warriors right now so the washer/dryer didn't mean anything to us. MAKE SURE YOU HIRE AN INSPECTION BEFORE YOU BUY.

I'm including a pic from last weekend to emphasize that massive visibility.

Good luck, thanks for your service.
(USN, Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club, Volunteered.)
 

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SeilerBird

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Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
16,699
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
I have owned several As, Bs and Cs. An A beats them all in my book for a lot of reasons. I feel that As are much easier to park and drive and a lot more fun.
 

Hilltopr76

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2017
Posts
15
Location
Tulsa, OK
These are big questions and I sympathize with you! We became 1st time Motor Coach owners in August of 2017. We settled pretty quickly on the Class A over the other options. Wanted a diesel engine for sure. Then my wife researched the interior she wanted (I had a few requirements, which were easily met). Folks here on the forum helped reassure me that a 360 hp on a 40' coach would be sufficient but not impressive. Cost was a major component for us so we searched the entire US for best price. I was encouraged to make your minimum requirement list and see where that leads you. We ended up with a Thor Aria 3901 because it met all our minimum needs. The cummins 360 hp on a Freightliner chassis has been a pleasure to drive, even over the Rockies and Black Hills. You won't be passing many Semis going up the steep grades, but you will make it fine even towing your car. No trouble over the first 15,000 miles. The Thor buildout up top is another story. Best layout for our needs which was a major factor. We wanted all tile, no carpet. Great tv viewing options. Full bath in master suite and a half bath mid coach for travel use and guest purposes. Bad news is that we have had major water issues in the basement which has affected major electronics. Water works has had issues and recently replaced everything down there. Have replaced all seals around bay doors and large d/s slide. I could go on, but you get the idea. After the year and few months on the road (and we've traveled a lot) I can say that if you can deal with the problems up top, a Thor product has the chassis and engine at a price point you may find agreeable. If you can swing a Tiffin or Newmar (my personal dream coach) then I suggest you move on up in engine and quality to begin with. You will find the privately owned companies that I just listed a lot more quality conscious than the publicly owned corporates such as Thor. Just my opinion but I think I have earned it in dollars and tears over the course of our last 16 months. Good luck and Semper Fi!
 

cadee2c

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Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Posts
1,167
Location
Everywhere
I have a class A and I tow a jeep liberty. Its really easy to set up and take down. I do it alone and it takes all of 20 minutes including dumping and filling tanks.  My dog Hank supervises really well too. Class As have much more storage and larger tanks, and are just as easy to drive as a C.  Its a pain to have to tear down and set up your coach whenever you want to go sight seeing, so you will more than likely end up wanting a toad regardless of which class you have. Others may know better, but I think you can tow easier or heavier cars with a class A.

Of the two you mentioned, I would go for the Fleetwood. Its higher quality and in my never humble opinion, that will make a difference over the long haul.
 

Spring Creek

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Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Posts
210
Location
Iowa
Drive them all as results may vary.

While I?ve never driven a diesel pusher, we had the best class A Newmar makes and traded after 6 weeks we hated it so much.

There is plenty of good advice here, what type of RV people say is best is only their opinion, never fact.
 

Isaac-1

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Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,858
Location
SW Louisiana
I can certainly understand about back pain, I fell and broke my back in 2010 (split compression fracture of L2), spent 4 months in a full back brace, and it was the better part of a year before I could bend down to pick up dropped keys.  Thankfully in my case things continue to slowly improve over the years, to the point that in the last year or two on some days I will feel like my old self, then I go and lift something I shouldn't have, and regret it for a week (like that car battery day before yesterday).

Having said that it is hard to beat a class A with leveling jacks for easy set up, pull into a campground, push a button or two, plug into power and be set for the night.  In my case I have a small class A (29'5" bumper to bumper), so generally I can fit almost anywhere a class C can go, just with a drivers perspective that is higher up, so hopefully I will be less likely to forget how tall I am.
 

CWO

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Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Posts
4
I appreciate the advice. I feel like I make up my mind then go to bed and when I get up I'm thinking well that doesn't make sense! LOL We are getting another puppy and have decided to rent a 2018 Coachmen Freelander 28BH for the trip to Tennessee and back home from early to mid November. Based on what I've researched and the feedback here, we passed on the Thor Synergy - another problem was where to get reliable and honest service. We have a trusted mechanic that works on German vehicles and he warned us to stay away from the MB diesel in the Synergy and wouldn't recommend anyone he trusted to service it! After this trip we will rent another Class A if we can find a rental similar to what we think we want. Then, hopefully, we can decide. In addition to the cost of the class A we will need to buy a toad and it seems choice are very limited these days, never mind the expense. Thanks again!
 

AnRVAndADog

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Posts
380
Location
Port Richey, FL
CWO said:
...another problem was where to get reliable and honest service. We have a trusted mechanic that works on German vehicles and he warned us to stay away from the MB diesel in the Synergy and wouldn't recommend anyone he trusted to service it!

You'll need to hookup with some local RV owners. Say about a 50 to 100 mile radius. Personal recommendations on service are the most valuable. Don't accept negative (or positive) comments without some proof. A good example is Camping World. They get smacked around pretty regularly. Almost every Camping World location was a privately owned RV dealer before that owner sold out to Camping World and Camping World bought everything including all the employees. So a very good shop could have become a very good Camping World location and a crappy shop most likely is now a crappy Camping World... 
 

CWO

New member
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Posts
4
Whatever we buy (if???) it certainly won't be this latest rental! OMG what  a poorly made product! The engine was so loud we couldn't have a conversation and we couldn't hear the radio even at max volume. I get that it was a rental but it seemed like the RV would fall apart around us as we drove. The front windows made so much noise and rattled to drive one crazy. I tried using folded paper as shims to stop the rattle but that was a waste of time. After so many conversations with a lot of owners it seems a DP is what would best suit us. Unfortunately, DPs are pricey so we will take a while to find the right one in our budget - we are risk and debt averse and I won't go into a lot of debt for a toy. I really appreciate all the advice. Thanks much!!!
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,858
Location
SW Louisiana
A lot can be done to quieten the sound of a front engine coach, I  put Dynamat Xtreme and Dynamat Hoodliner under the fiberglass doghouse cover in my coach which significantly lowered the engine noise that gets into the passenger compartment, as I recall the total cost was about $170 from Amazon, along with an hour or so worth of my time and  a few cuts to my hands (those metallic edges are sharp).    Don't get me wrong you can still hear the engine, and have to turn up the stereo to hear music on the highway, but it is much better.
 

WILDEBILL308

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Joined
May 6, 2012
Posts
3,126
Location
FORT WORTH TEXAS
CWO said:
I appreciate the advice. I feel like I make up my mind then go to bed and when I get up I'm thinking well that doesn't make sense! LOL We are getting another puppy and have decided to rent a 2018 Coachmen Freelander 28BH for the trip to Tennessee and back home from early to mid November. Based on what I've researched and the feedback here, we passed on the Thor Synergy - another problem was where to get reliable and honest service. We have a trusted mechanic that works on German vehicles and he warned us to stay away from the MB diesel in the Synergy and wouldn't recommend anyone he trusted to service it! After this trip we will rent another Class A if we can find a rental similar to what we think we want. Then, hopefully, we can decide. In addition to the cost of the class A we will need to buy a toad and it seems choice are very limited these days, never mind the expense. Thanks again!
If you need help geting in a class A look at this one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOp79AHrH20
There are places that can modafi most coaches for improved acess. Let me know what you think.
Bill
 

WILDEBILL308

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2012
Posts
3,126
Location
FORT WORTH TEXAS
WILDEBILL308 said:
If you need help geting in a class A look at this one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOp79AHrH20
There are places that can modafi most coaches for improved acess. Let me know what you think.
One outher thing you should look at used Newmar diesel coaches with their "comfort drive" system it makes that class "A" easier to drive than that class "C"
Bill
Sometimes this site has a mind of it's own.
Bill
 
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