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Jay_W
Jay_W SuperDork
7/3/20 12:10 p.m.

In reply to bearmtnmartin :

Best and highest use!

Sidewayze
Sidewayze New Reader
7/4/20 12:13 a.m.

Having spent a couple years working as a parts tech in a shop right near a big RV park / golf course where we worked on RV's fairly often, my first piece of advice is, if you don't have more money than you can figure out what to with, run away from class A motorhomes.  Far away. 

Class A's tend to be mish mashes of parts often on mid weight chassis which can make repair work a nightmare, at best.  I'm not kidding.  Even a brake job can be a time consuming hunt for parts that are hard to find and eye poppingly expensive. 

If you must have a motorhome, a class C is more likely to be built on a 1 ton van chassis, making them somewhat less aggravating. 

Personally though, if it were my money, i would buy a trailer/fifth wheel, and get a 2wd pickup or van to pull it with. 

In reply to Sidewayze :

I buy all the chassis parts for my Class A from the local NAPA or Rock Auto. They both carry whatever I need in stock. That's the main reason I went with the Ford F53 chassis. Parts are common, easy to find and Cheap.

I had to replace a rear caliper when I did the brakes last year. NAPA had them in stock for $38 each. 

 

Sidewayze
Sidewayze New Reader
7/4/20 1:14 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01 (Moderately Supportive Dude) :

I'm glad that that has worked out.  I guess if you shop very carefully for the right chassis, that can work out. 

On the other other hand, I've personally dealt with some very oddball issues with class A's.  Things like a brake caliper of which there was one in North America.  Odd master cylinders.  A/C parts that were not identified by the manufacturer. (Time for our A/C tech to custom build is not cheap.). Etc, etc.

It has definitely been enough to make me stay away from them.

Trailers are simple. 

In reply to Sidewayze :

Definitely agree, trailers are simple. I just couldn't figure out how to get one to tow my race car and most Class C RVs dont have much towing capacity.

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/28/20 11:29 p.m.

We rented a Minnie Winnie last weekend and all had a great time, so I'm back to looking.  The over-cab loft bed was great for the kids, which has me looking at class C's. I also learned that a door for the back bedroom would be a great feature. I've also increased the budget to $25K. Any further wisdom from the brain trust?

03Panther
03Panther Dork
10/28/20 11:51 p.m.

I can't recommend anything not already covered, especially be Curtis. But with the increase to 25, your in a better price range to find what you are looking for. But also in a price range where most of what you see for sale will be no better than the ones priced for half as much or less. So good news, and bad!

TheMagicRatchet
TheMagicRatchet New Reader
10/29/20 8:46 a.m.

My suggestion would be to steer clear of "diesel pushers (DP's)." They are, by far, the most durable chassis you could buy capable of hundreds of thousands of miles; they ride and handle well BUT repair costs are obscene.

Up until this year we did a fair amount of camping with two clubs in our 26' Class C. Almost everyone we know with a not brand new DP has had a breakdown along the highway necessitating a four figure tow into a repair shop for a five figure repair. Since they are a bus chassis, many truck shops don't work on them and you'll need to find a specialist which tends to increase all the costs.

If you can afford it, they are top of the line but always be prepared for that unexpected $15k repair bill. 

Lou Manglass

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/29/20 10:04 a.m.

Honest recommendation?

Wait until we get the virus under control if you can.

My bestie decided to buy a Class C because both of her kids are out of the house and she wants to travel.  She started sending me FB and CL links in her budget and I was like "lol wut?... is there an extra zero?"  RVs that should have cost $5000 were selling before she could respond to the ad... for $13,000.  We looked for a couple months and every time she sent a link, I would look it up on NADA and send that link back to her.  Not that NADA is the perfect guide, but when the ads are asking three times what NADA suggests AND selling in minutes, it is a bit of a red flag.  We went to look at one late-80s Coachmen that had leaked so badly, the roof was starting to push the cabinets off the walls.  He was asking $8000, and there were at least a dozen people there all taking their turn waiting in his driveway for a chance to grab this rare, plaid-upholstered, rot box.

She decided to put her plans on hold until things calmed down.  Things might be different in your area, but do some research.  Of course, you can't use NADA or KBB as an absolute.  They provide average numbers, but the RV market is much like a commodity in the stock market.  Right now Pork and FCOJ are priced really high, so buying right now might minimize what you get for your $$

03Panther
03Panther Dork
10/29/20 2:48 p.m.

I haven’t tried to ligit. tried to buy anything here in the S E since this mess. I know anything I have, or know of for sale, will not sell even at last years prices... so I wish I COULD get those prices!

03Panther
03Panther Dork
10/29/20 2:53 p.m.

In reply to TheMagicRatchet :

My best advice on a diesel pusher (that ain’t 25 years old) for under 25k, would be to run!!! Fast!!! 

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/29/20 3:13 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks Curtis, I think that is solid advice. I had noticed the same thing with asking prices 3-4x NADA value.

When prices do get back to reasonable is there any class Cs that I should focus on that aren't prone to leaking? The only ones I have seen that don't have a roof seam on top of the walls is the fiberglass Born Free models, but I haven't seen one of those with an enclosed back bedroom. Earlier in the thread Lazy Daze were suggested, but all of those seem to have storage over the cab, not a bunk.

I did find a class A with a loft bed over the cab, but only 1. Is that something that can be retrofitted?

wae
wae UberDork
10/29/20 3:51 p.m.

Pretty much every RV is prone to leaking.  Winnebago did a bit with some 1-piece fiberglass roofs which make it a little better, but only a little. 

I have seen only a handful of the drop down bunks in class A rigs.  I can only assume that the additional supports required to support it make it difficult and costly to install.  We've spent some time staring at the front cap trying to figure out a good way to build something like that for ours because the concept is genius!  But so far, I've not come up with anything that seems like it would be worth the effort.

keithedwards
keithedwards Reader
10/29/20 7:08 p.m.

In reply to wae :

We had a pull-down bed in our '76 Winnebago Brave, that we bought in the '90s. It had the classic front and was only 21' long. It had a 318 engine with a numerically high rear end. i think I only towed with it once. Never tested to find the top speed, but it couldn't have been much.

 

RebaRos99
RebaRos99 New Reader
11/4/20 4:48 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

lol, totally agree, during the lockdown, we've experienced the same situation. I personally solved the problem better, I literally bought a trailer and decided to travel across the country, fortunately it is huge enough for long trips. The only problem bothering me was rv refrigrator, I knew that 1 fridge wouldn't be enough for the long lasting trip, so I decided to consult with https://www.palmgear.com/best-rv-refrigerator-reviews/ as it has the most fair reviews and information contained. I chose one of the fridges suiting me the most and was really satisfied with my decision.

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/4/20 5:02 p.m.

The other option on is to replace my Land Cruiser with something that can tow, such as a Suburban or Tahoe, and get a travel trailer.  With a Class A or C it was kind of cool to just pull off the road and step into the back. Will I miss that feature with a trailer?

wae
wae UberDork
11/4/20 5:17 p.m.

In reply to bgkast (Forum Supporter) :

Yes...  But would the ability to, worst-case, trade in your broken down tow rig on a new or used one to get you home be more comforting?  No additional oil to change.  And the insurance on the trailer is going to be less than on the class A or C more than likely.   And you don't have to have a "toad" that you choose based on how much weight your rv can tow and what vehicles can be flat-towed.

Don't get me wrong, I really like having my class A...  But when things go wrong on an A, it can get complicated.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/5/20 9:29 a.m.
bgkast (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

When prices do get back to reasonable is there any class Cs that I should focus on that aren't prone to leaking? The only ones I have seen that don't have a roof seam on top of the walls is the fiberglass Born Free models, but I haven't seen one of those with an enclosed back bedroom. Earlier in the thread Lazy Daze were suggested, but all of those seem to have storage over the cab, not a bunk.

I did find a class A with a loft bed over the cab, but only 1. Is that something that can be retrofitted?

They will all leak eventually.  Kind of unavoidable.

There are three basic types of roof you'll encounter.  Rubber, stamped/corrugated aluminum, or sheet aluminum.  The old school stuff was often pieces of rolled aluminum sheet that was textured/stamped with broad ridges.  Not like "tin roof" corrugations, but just subtle bends to get it a little rigidity.  They ofen were about 3' wide and installed across the roof with some sort of sealant at each lap joint.  They suck pretty hard core.  Not only do the seams leak pretty easily, the aluminum is a thin gauge.  All it takes is one good stick falling from a tree to poke a hole in it.

Rubber is pretty durable and will take lots of abuse from branches.  The two downsides are that it requires yearly maintenance.  Rubber isn't very UV stable, so it gets chalky.  If not scrubbed and treated, it will eventually start cracking like old tires. Also, over the years of hot/cold cycles, the rubber can pull the adhesive and make little cracks in the seams.

My last Holiday Rambler (1992 model) had a two-piece flat aluminum roof.  It was one 4' strip down the right side, and another down the left.  It was sealed with butyl tape in the middle.  It was thicker gauge aluminum that was bonded to a structural foam ceiling.  Not only did it never leak in its nearly 30 years of use, it required no maintenance.  I did put a preventative coat of liquid roof coating over the seam just in case, but other than going up there once a year to sweep off some junk, it was super reliable.

My advice is to select an RV that has zero signs of previous leaks.  Then just be aware of the roof and seal anything that looks questionable before it becomes an issue.  I would avoid the stamped aluminum roof simply because it may take more maintenance, but for me the secret is just finding one that hasn't leaked and making sure it doesn't start leaking.  Again, I will put in a plug for 90s-older Holiday Ramblers.  Flat aluminum skins, flat aluminum heavy gauge roof, aluminum studs, and bonded foam, stressed-skin construction.  That means if it ever does leak, you just fix the leak.  Aluminum can't rot like wood studs, so leaks aren't the end of the world.  To me, once a wood-framed RV has had a leak, it's done.  Might as well strip it for the frame and make it a work truck.  Grandpa had an 86 HR Alumalite Class C and he used it all summer, and up until he passed away, drove it WV to FL for a couple months in the winter.  It was used heavily for 20 years and it never leaked.  He was pretty cautious about checking the roof, and he likely sealed some seams over the years as a preventative.

Motorhomes can sometimes leak more than trailers, but not always.  I assume it's because the entire coach is a stressed member of the vehicle.  I've never known a motorhome that didn't creak and groan when you went over a speed bump or make a turn.  It has four points of contact, so uneven road surfaces twist things.  A trailer is basically a tripod, so theoretically there is less torque introduced into the coach.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/5/20 9:39 a.m.

I have often wondered why RV manufacturers haven't come up with a 1-piece molded ABS roof shell.  That sure would permanently solve the roof leak issue.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/5/20 9:57 a.m.

Oh, and one other thing.  As soon as you buy your used RV, replace the dome lids.  They get UV damage and become super brittle.  It has happened to me before.  You park it for the winter, a stick or an icicle falls from a tree and shatters the dome lid leaving a huge leak over your bed, your kitchen, or your bathroom.

I also went to the dollar store and bought three cheap laundry hampers/baskets to put upside-down over the domes.  They were just an inch or so narrower than the dome lid, so they "snap" over the domes.  That way if a stick falls, it can't get to the dome.  Even if it's a big enough branch to collapse the basket and crush the dome, the solid bottom of the laundry basket keeps most of the weather out.

One of my RVs has the vent-shade covers over the domes.  While they do perform the same function as the laundry basket, I didn't like how much light they blocked.

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/5/20 10:08 a.m.

Before the epidemic my plan for this year was to get a decent full size pickup ( early 90s Ford i6 and 5spd) and was tinkering with the idea of a cheap motorhome.

 

Both have shot up incredibly. Even the methmobile level of RVs is absurd high. I saw a 70s Dodge Van class c listed for 11k on my local Facebook marketplace. It leaked and was moderately used during it's time. It sold within an hour.

 

These are things that I saw for under challenge price last year......

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie HalfDork
11/5/20 10:08 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Motorhomes can sometimes leak more than trailers, but not always.  I assume it's because the entire coach is a stressed member of the vehicle.  I've never known a motorhome that didn't creak and groan when you went over a speed bump or make a turn. 

This explains a lot. My Tioga II still makes noise turning up steep driveways even after a complete suspension rebuild with new springs, new bushings and Bilstein shocks. 

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/5/20 10:18 a.m.

One of my friends just sold his 90's era Bounder RV.  Within 6 hrs of posting it, he had 30+ interested and the first one offered him $1000 over asking; they were the first to look at it and bought it.  I've been in the RV (and even helped him diagnose and fix the leveling system) and while it wasn't in bad condition, it was on the tired side.  He always traveled with a trailer and his dual-sport - so he could ride for help when it broke down.  He's not poor, so putting money into it to fix things wasn't a problem, but eventually he got tired of doing it.  Apparently the new owners are planning a total gut-renovation. 

He wished them luck as they drove away, with a slight tear and a huge sigh of relief.

wae
wae UberDork
11/5/20 10:18 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

My Winnie has a 1-piece fiberglass roof.  Put some Eternabond on the front- and rear-cap seams, over the J-rails, and around the vent cutouts and it'll pretty much never leak.

Hearing about all the pricing weirdness kind of makes me wish I had put mine up for sale.  Sell it for more than it's really worth, bank the cash, and when the market normalizes jump back in.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/5/20 11:46 a.m.

I'm really tempted to sell my boat for the same reason.  Problem is, I can't be certain I'll find another one.  I don't see the prices coming down before boating season happens again.  Maybe sell mine and steal one of dad's come springtime?

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