Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

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WoodSpinner
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Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:37 am

All,

My wife and I are planning on buying a Class-B RV and we are looking for some tips on planning the purchase and budgeting for routine expenses.

Background
  • Me 58, DW 57, both of us are now retired as of Dec2017
  • Federal Tax Rate 22%, State 9.3% (CA)
  • Retirement is well funded, I have a pension and expect under 3% SWR on a roughly 50/50 Portfolio
  • We started seriously looking a few weeks ago--this will be our first RV purchase
  • This will be a cash purchase and will not endanger our Retirement
  • We plan to use the RV for extended road trips (for 2 adults) and explore US and Canada--it will not be our primary residence.
  • We like the Class-B's since they are relatively small and we plan to do a great deal of Boondocking and Stealth Camping outside of regular RV campgrounds. DW requires a toilet and we both need the comforts of a good bed. Additional advantage of the Class-B is we can go almost anywhere (except serious off-roading) and be fairly self sufficient.
Questions
  • Anyone have any insights on a Class-B RVs and/or Pleasure-Way?
  • So far we have looked hard at Airstream, Roadtrek and Pleasure-Way -- any suggestions for other manufacturers to check out?
  • Any resource recommendations for understanding the depreciation of these RVs? I know a new 2018 will take a hit, but there are some features we like and would like to have some rational basis for a cost/benefit analysis of new vs. used.
  • Any tips on negotiating a better price through a dealership? There doesn't seem to be much competition between dealers in this part of the state.
  • Any resource recommendations for direct purchase of used models would also be appreciated.
  • Recommendations for rental sites would be most appreciated. So far we have been working with RVShare but haven't had much luck in setting up rentals.
  • What regular expenses should I plan for? So far I have:
    • DMV Registration
    • Storage
    • Insurance
    • Regular Maintenance (oil changes etc.)
    • What am I missing?
Disclaimer: We realize this decision is much more about a lifestyle choice than about straight economic analysis. Before I got married I spent months living out of a Ford Explorer and know quite a bit about Boondocking and Stealth camping. Its a really different experience than renting hotel rooms, or travelling in larger RVs.

Thanks in advance for any insights and suggestions.

WoodSpinner 8-)

ImaCheesehead
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by ImaCheesehead » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:52 am

So far we have looked hard at Airstream, Roadtrek and Pleasure-Way -- any suggestions for other manufacturers to check out?

Have you looked at Leisure Travel Vans? They are gorgeous. We full time in a 41 foot class A and there are lots of places we cannot get in, but we love having all the space and storage. Have fun looking and traveling!

tibbitts
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by tibbitts » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:01 am

It sounds like you have this figured out, but really, if you have to even mention the registration fees... that doesn't exactly match up with the not endangering your retirement. Like you said it's not a financial decision - at least not once you determine you can afford it, which you apparently can.

I can very much see the appeal of a vehicle like that, but I'm not sure I could deal with never being able to stand up without hitting my head. So you physical size may have something to do with how well it works for you. I would budget for a number of motel nights if I had one, although I don't mean that in a discouraging way at all, it's just a reality. The only other downside is needing to move it off your campsite (and I'm assuming you'll be using traditional campgrounds sometimes, not just doing the stealth thing) every time you need something like groceries. Then once you get it hooked back up and realize you forgot the milk or eggs, you get to do the whole routine all over again. As for the "good bed" thing, I guess you'd have to try it to decide. It's certainly not a conventional "good bed."

Bs hold their values better than some other RVs - and start out as about the most expensive RVs per square foot that you can buy. So the advantage of buying nearly-new that you get with some RVs might not apply as much to a B. They can cost twice what a much bigger C would cost, but then they're smaller and stealthier, and that's what you're looking for.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:11 am

Slightly used RV's can have significant price drops.
Class B's have the highest price per sq ft compared to Class C's.
Look into where you are going to park when you travel as some areas have space and length limitations.
Compared a slightly used Winnebago Travato compared to a new Roadtrek.
Look at road clearance to fit where you are going, whether some off road use. Class B's can be very low because they add to the undercarriage when building.
Suggest renting various models before buying. It will be worth getting what fits your needs.
There are some shorter compact Class C RV's that also might fit your needs.
Look at the various platforms in the same model line. IE: some have the mercedes sprinter chassis and some the dodge, and so forth.
Some thoughts.
j :D

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:08 am

With ALL forms of RV, pay close attention to the capacities. My parents own a camper that is legally overweight once the propane and fresh water tanks are full. I would never buy from a manufacturer that blatantly skirted safety regs like that. Seems to be a common practice.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

naysay
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by naysay » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:14 am

We have enjoyed a Class A for many years and I have no recent experience with other types of RV’s but may be able to offer some general suggestions.

- As previously mentioned take a very close look at the used market, specifically 1 to 3 years old. Not only will you save a lot of money but hopefully you are letting someone else de-bug the unit. Consider having a used RV inspected by a neutral party.

-The best advice I ever received was buy your third RV first and save a lot of trade costs. The best way to do this is shop and shop some more.

-Expand your Dealer search geographic area.

-Seek out an active discussion forum. Similar to this forum, this is a tremendous resource for many of your questions and also capacity information. Start with I-RV2.

-If possible, visit some nearby campgrounds and talk with Owners of Units you are considering. Most people in campgrounds will be friendly and informative. Visit some RV shows.

tibbitts
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by tibbitts » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:51 am

naysay wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:14 am
We have enjoyed a Class A for many years and I have no recent experience with other types of RV’s but may be able to offer some general suggestions.

- As previously mentioned take a very close look at the used market, specifically 1 to 3 years old. Not only will you save a lot of money but hopefully you are letting someone else de-bug the unit. Consider having a used RV inspected by a neutral party.

-The best advice I ever received was buy your third RV first and save a lot of trade costs. The best way to do this is shop and shop some more.

-Expand your Dealer search geographic area.

-Seek out an active discussion forum. Similar to this forum, this is a tremendous resource for many of your questions and also capacity information. Start with I-RV2.

-If possible, visit some nearby campgrounds and talk with Owners of Units you are considering. Most people in campgrounds will be friendly and informative. Visit some RV shows.
Thanks for mentioning I-RV2; I hadn't heard of it.

But some of the benefit of lightly used doesn't seem to apply to the same degree with a B as with other types of RVs, although it may apply more at the highest end of the B price scale.

Also in many parts of the country you can visit an RV show (and most seem to cost money to attend now) and not see a B or a truck camper. You'll see hundreds or thousands or other RVs, but not those, or if you do only one or two models from on manufacturer. Obviously if you travel to one of the huge RV shows (or live near one) that's a different story.

bloom2708
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:59 am

I like the size and amenities of a B/B+ for two people.

Some days I would trade our house for a 2018 Airstream Atlas B+. At $210k or so it should be a nice ride.

I agree with finding a lightly used version of the one you want. Even if that means flying out to it and driving it home.
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Emilyjane
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Emilyjane » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:14 am

We have a 2007 Roadtrek Agile we bought used. Love traveling in it, mostly National Park road trips.

The thing I have gotten used to is, “it’s always something”, as in costs for repair in addition to usual maintenance. But, worth it. We do like our Sprinter chassis due to being able to stand up inside, and our Diesel engine routinely gets 23 mpg, but everything is more expensive maintenance with a diesel.

I do recommend Roadtreking.com, good informative website, not specific to Roadtreks, but with emphasis on class Bs. Mike, the web site owner, also has a podcast and associated Facebook group.
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance", Confucius

DrakeSRT
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by DrakeSRT » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:26 am

Hate to rain on your parade but.....

I bought a new 2015 Airstream Interstate Class B.

Ordered it and took possession in May of 2014. I sold it a couple months ago after 3 1/2 years and 36,000 miles.

The Airstream part was good with very few issues, the Mercedes Sprinter engine unfortunately was not good. It would go into limp mode (reduced power) and have to be towed to the dealer. FYI it will not fit on a regular flat bed tow truck it has to be put on a landfill. Also partially sucked in the turbo seal when just out of warranty so the repair was on my dime.

My Wife and I never got comfortable with the small size of the rig either. Just not quite enough room to move around in.

Now for the depreciation part. MSRP was $151,450 and I paid $124,xxx so around 82% of purchase which was not an easy number to get to with my local dealer.

It was garaged at my home so was in excellent condition when sold for $89,000 back to the dealer. So do the math and don't forget to add in the approx $10,000 sales tax.

We originally financed ours but paid it off approx a year after we bought it.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:32 am

DrakeSRT wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:26 am
Hate to rain on your parade but.....

I bought a new 2015 Airstream Interstate Class B.

Ordered it and took possession in May of 2014. I sold it a couple months ago after 3 1/2 years and 36,000 miles.

The Airstream part was good with very few issues, the Mercedes Sprinter engine unfortunately was not good. It would go into limp mode (reduced power) and have to be towed to the dealer. FYI it will not fit on a regular flat bed tow truck it has to be put on a landfill. Also partially sucked in the turbo seal when just out of warranty so the repair was on my dime.

Thanks for the feedback. We have been much more concerned with the Airstream build than the Sprinter engine. Sounds like N would experience. Did you have any roadside assistance setup (e.g. AAA)

My Wife and I never got comfortable with the small size of the rig either. Just not quite enough room to move around in.

Now for the depreciation part. MSRP was $151,450 and I paid $124,xxx so around 82% of purchase which was not an easy number to get to with my local dealer.

It was garaged at my home so was in excellent condition when sold for $89,000 back to the dealer. So do the math and don't forget to add in the approx $10,000 sales tax.

How did you know you goy a good deal when selling it back? Did you trade up to another RV?

We originally financed ours but paid it off approx a year after we bought it.
Appreciate the feedback!

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:33 am

Emilyjane wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:14 am
We have a 2007 Roadtrek Agile we bought used. Love traveling in it, mostly National Park road trips.

The thing I have gotten used to is, “it’s always something”, as in costs for repair in addition to usual maintenance. But, worth it. We do like our Sprinter chassis due to being able to stand up inside, and our Diesel engine routinely gets 23 mpg, but everything is more expensive maintenance with a diesel.

I do recommend Roadtreking.com, good informative website, not specific to Roadtreks, but with emphasis on class Bs. Mike, the web site owner, also has a podcast and associated Facebook group.
Many thanks, I will check the site out.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:37 am

naysay wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:14 am
We have enjoyed a Class A for many years and I have no recent experience with other types of RV’s but may be able to offer some general suggestions.

- As previously mentioned take a very close look at the used market, specifically 1 to 3 years old. Not only will you save a lot of money but hopefully you are letting someone else de-bug the unit. Consider having a used RV inspected by a neutral party.

-The best advice I ever received was buy your third RV first and save a lot of trade costs. The best way to do this is shop and shop some more.

Seems like good advice, thanks.

-Expand your Dealer search geographic area.
:annoyed
-Seek out an active discussion forum. Similar to this forum, this is a tremendous resource for many of your questions and also capacity information. Start with I-RV2.

I haven’t been to that site yet, appreciate the suggestion.


-If possible, visit some nearby campgrounds and talk with Owners of Units you are considering. Most people in campgrounds will be friendly and informative. Visit some RV shows.

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Toons
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Toons » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:58 am

Roadtrek owner here for 5 years.
It has been a phenomenal journey and continuing.
Make sure it is the lifestyle you are looking for ,space wise.
We own a 20ft Roatrek Agile,perfect for the 2 of us.
As you mentioned we can go most anywhere,and boondocking options are endless.
Fits perfectly in parking lots.
24 mpg diesel engine.Fully equipped with solar panels.
Check out the "volt start" tecnology with Roadtrek.
Roadtrek or PleasureWay are the 2 brands ,personally I would consider if looking at the class B category.
Regarding pricing,,,they are in extremely high demand now,,wait time is considerable.
When we purchased ours 18-20% off retail was fairly standard,not sure now but negotiate with that in mind.
We have traveled across the country and back a couple of times,,and many points in between ,North South East West.
Here is an analogy for you once explained to me,
Life is like a yard stick,at age 60 you are over 2/3 the way through that yardstick.
Of that small portion left ,how long will you physically be able to enjoy exploring the country in a vehicle.
If it is what you want to do ,don't put it off..live your dream.
One of the best life decisions personally we have ever made
:wink:
.

Florida Keys :D
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"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

retire57
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by retire57 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:41 pm

Roadtrek owner here too. 190 Popular 2010 model. Bought barely-used in 2012. I love it, but I'm a solo traveler. Bs hold their value. So the good news is, if you buy lightly used and it doesn't suit you, you are not out much, if at all. RVs are rather like boats - the maintenance and repairs are part of ownership. But after over 600 nights and 50K miles in mine, I wouldn't (and won't ) trade it for anything else.

Facebook has an excellent RT owners group.

atbman
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by atbman » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:57 pm

You should check out Tiger RV. http://www.tigervehicles.com/ They're a bit more expensive, ~ $150k. But they hold their value better than typical RVs. You can literally use it for 5 years, 50k miles, and probably still sell it for around $120k. Plus, they're much more comfortable than the van class Bs. You can actually stand up in them and there's an overhead cab.

And the chassis is more reliable than the Mercedes/Dodge Sprinter.

fishboat
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by fishboat » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:59 pm

Class B's are nice from a mobility & economy standpoint, but they are pricey. $100-$140K can go a long way in other, larger RV options..but, everything in RVs (or boats) are a tradeoff... Mobility/economy is not a bad thing.

Take a look at Sportsmobile..not heard of much, but they are into Class B's in a big way.

Image

sailaway
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by sailaway » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:25 pm

Could a current owner comment on the boon docking? The class B's that I have explored so far have tiny tanks.

DrakeSRT
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by DrakeSRT » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:46 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:32 am
DrakeSRT wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:26 am
Hate to rain on your parade but.....

I bought a new 2015 Airstream Interstate Class B.

Ordered it and took possession in May of 2014. I sold it a couple months ago after 3 1/2 years and 36,000 miles.

The Airstream part was good with very few issues, the Mercedes Sprinter engine unfortunately was not good. It would go into limp mode (reduced power) and have to be towed to the dealer. FYI it will not fit on a regular flat bed tow truck it has to be put on a landfill. Also partially sucked in the turbo seal when just out of warranty so the repair was on my dime.

Thanks for the feedback. We have been much more concerned with the Airstream build than the Sprinter engine. Sounds like N would experience. Did you have any roadside assistance setup (e.g. AAA)

My Wife and I never got comfortable with the small size of the rig either. Just not quite enough room to move around in.

Now for the depreciation part. MSRP was $151,450 and I paid $124,xxx so around 82% of purchase which was not an easy number to get to with my local dealer.

It was garaged at my home so was in excellent condition when sold for $89,000 back to the dealer. So do the math and don't forget to add in the approx $10,000 sales tax.

How did you know you goy a good deal when selling it back? Did you trade up to another RV?

We originally financed ours but paid it off approx a year after we bought it.
Appreciate the feedback!
Yes, we had roadside assistance and the tows were paid for but it was a major hassle including the roadside assistance sending the wrong size vehicle even after being told what they needed to send. Auto correct above said landfill when it was a Landoll and is a larger than normal flatbed that the bed doesn't just tilt but actually slides back off the wheels and tilts at the same time and is big enough for a 24 foot class B.

As far as Airstreams quality go to www.airforums.com it is loaded with posts of problems for all model years. Part of the problems I believe to be caused by the owners. Make no mistake these are not cars that you can just get in any time and take off for the great outdoors. They require you to know the vehicles systems and maintain them. If you drive in the winter and it gets below freezing at night you have to purge your water hoses, blow out with air and add RV antifreeze to keep from bursting your plumbing underneath your rig. If temps will barely drop below freezing for short durations you will be OK especially if you turn your heater on to keep the inside warm.

The biggest problem is the batteries. Unless you get a brand new unit (or order one) there is a greater than 50/50 chance that your batteries will be toast before you even take deliver. I kept my AI plugged in to shore power at all times at home and kept a close eye on the state of the batteries while on the road and if need be would start my generator to recharge the batteries when no connected. The dealers get their units and leave them sit on their lots and the batteries discharge to a state that they are not fully rechargeable.

Airstreams have macerator pumps for sewage disposal and this was an important feature for me. I did not want to mess around with a slinky to dump my gray and black tanks. A lot of owners clogged their pumps and had pinholes in their hoses develop from not properly spooling the hose back on the reel. There are other issues but those are couple repetitive ones.

I sold mine back to the dealer for a couple reasons. I tried selling it on RVT and CL and had quite a few lookers but no buyers. Most offers I received were below what the dealer bought it for. Of course as soon as I sold it I did have an offer for a couple grand more but that leads me to the 2nd reason I sold to the dealer.

Even though I knew the rig waaaay better than the RV Dealers person that delivers to you on purchase, I still wasn't looking forward to going over every thing for hours just to have a potential Buyer walk away or not be able to get financed, oh and then I would feel obligated to go over the maintenance and repairs including the 3 week trip to the Sprinter service to replace the fuel rails and fuel pumps. This was under warranty to but only after the dealers tech accused me of putting gasoline in the fuel tank instead of diesel. They send the fuel out for testing even after I provided a receipt from a day earlier showing that I had just put diesel in. Fuel came back clean probably because I got my fuel sample with the tech before they got theirs. Hate to say they would have contaminated it on purpose but the thought did cross my mind.

The Buyer for the dealer came to my house looked everything over and only started the engine, didn't even drive it.

So at the end of the day, I knew what it was worth and put $89,000 back in my pocket.

obgraham
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by obgraham » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:00 pm

sailaway wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:25 pm
Could a current owner comment on the boon docking? The class B's that I have explored so far have tiny tanks.
Boondocking is different in a B than in others. You just can't put 40-60 gallon tanks into a B. We went from a Class A pusher to a B. With 2 of us, we manage fine for 3 days, as we did at the August eclipse. By that time I'm low on water, and the black tank may be getting full (can't really tell, because I've never had an RV where the tank indicators were accurate!)

Power-wise, mine has 8 house batteries and a solar recharger. It runs 5000 watts of 120v via inverter, allowing me to run all the appliances I needed. Batteries recharge also from engine-run generator, so are usually full each evening, after we drive a bit. Otherwise, run the engine 40 minutes. With all this, we have never yet plugged in to shore power.

If you plan to boondock for long times without moving, or require long runs of airconditioner, you'll need the more usual Onan-type generator.

johnmattis
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by johnmattis » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:15 pm

I bought a new 2014 Airstream Interstate Class B and have used it for 4 years, 40k miles, perhaps 300 nights. It was not our first RV.

1. There is plenty of room inside for two of us. Sleeping is fine. The couch folds into a Cali King, and we unroll a 1” piece of foam onto it.

2. It is easy to park and maneuver. It is no wider than a F150 pickup, and only 4 feet longer. I can always find a spot at any grocery store to park.

3. Driving is scary if there is any wind, even small winds. A 25 mph gust will push you out of your lane at 60 mph. It's exhausting fighting wind, and really slows things down when you have to keep the speed below 55 for a day.

Specific to Airstream: The Airstream is awful. Design, components, quality, and service are all awful. Just awful. The people who designed and built the Airstream Class B have never used an RV and hate their customers. Unfixable leaks and squeaks, and so much stuff that just never works. There are 50 things in my Airstream van that just make me ask, "Why did they do that? What were they thinking?" As for expenses, costs add up fixing all the stupid stuff Airstream did (or didn't do). For example, adding an audio input would have cost them nothing when building the van, but would take me all day to add it now.

I'll sell mine as soon as I get the exploding airbag replaced. I've been waiting more than a year for the part.

John

DrakeSRT
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by DrakeSRT » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:45 pm

Yep forgot about the service dept for Airstream because luckily didn't make too many trips to the dealer.

First you go drop off your van and in a week or so they will actually look at it, then they have to get warranty approval and get the parts. It is a maddening process that takes weeks for the tiniest of issues.

OP please don't think it is Airstream as the Roadtreks, Winnebagos, Pleasureways and Leisure Travel Vans have their problems too and service depts with similar practices.

Yep the wind is a challenge for sure, so never got blown over but it sure felt like I was a few times. I have since driven our GMC Yukon across country and the winds that caused sore hands from gripping the steering wheel, I could easily hang on with just one hand.

retire57
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by retire57 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:56 pm

sailaway wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:25 pm
Could a current owner comment on the boon docking? The class B's that I have explored so far have tiny tanks.
I can go ten days without having to fill the fresh water tank or dump the waste tank. But then, I'm a solo traveler. The smaller tanks are one of the trade-offs for 1) the motility and 2) the stealth.

Another point: the B's really shine for touring, not camping out in one spot for an extended time. Though I've done that too, very comfortably. I love the versatility.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 pm

fishboat wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:59 pm
Class B's are nice from a mobility & economy standpoint, but they are pricey. $100-$140K can go a long way in other, larger RV options..but, everything in RVs (or boats) are a tradeoff... Mobility/economy is not a bad thing.

Take a look at Sportsmobile..not heard of much, but they are into Class B's in a big way.

Image
I want that one.
Might have to sell some funds. . . :shock:
j :D

letsgobobby
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:10 pm

You should definitely spend some time in a Class B before taking off on extended trips. They are really small, especially if you run into a prolonged period of rainy weather.

There are a number of custom van conversion folks that will build a Class B equivalent to your specs, from the ground up, starting with a full ton 4x4 van chassis. These probably will be in the same price range as what you're looking at but custom built and with true off road capability. Apocalypse vehicles, if you would. So don't lock yourself in without shopping some of the smaller custom builders.

alexander29
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by alexander29 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:56 pm

We have a 2016 Pleasureway Plateau TS and like it very much. Not any major problems yet. Mobility is great, but storage space is limited, as you would expect. The on-demand hot water on ours is fussy but I believe Pleasureway has gone to a better brand. Things we newbies didn’t really think about when shopping:
1. We really like having the kitchen and side door on the passenger side because when you back into a campsite, that’s usually the side with your campground table, etc.
2. Most of our utility hookups are on the driver side, as they should be, but our fill for the water tank is on the passenger side, away from the site faucet. Just a little more awkward at times.
3. Recommend as many solar panels as is affordable. Feeding the batteries becomes a big deal.
4. Ground clearance is limited. Pleasureway and Roadtrek aren’t designed as rough road or freezing winter vehicles.
5. The connections to empty the holding tank are quite low. This is good because gravity is your friend, but there is some bending and kneeling required.

But overall, our rig is well made and a lot of fun. Enjoy!

westie
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by westie » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:01 am

buy used, save money

tibbitts
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by tibbitts » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:56 am

westie wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:01 am
buy used, save money
Remember these are Bs not other RVs. You may save but not necessarily that much relative the wear and tear on the vehicle. It's not similar to many RVs that do plunge in value. Also remember that unlike with larger RVs you can't bring your entire garage full of tools to make repairs.

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Pajamas
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Pajamas » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:57 am

Rent some first.

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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by p14175 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:24 pm

We have never owned a motorhome only camp trailers. Our first camp trailer was a 22ft stick built Nomad with so many defects it spent more than 6 months at the dealer getting fixed. Later, the body started twisting after driving down a couple of forest roads and the doors got tweaked. We knew it wasn't going to last long. Our second was a 17ft Casita. Awesome little trailer. I wish we had kept it, but we traded it for a 25ft Airstream so my DH could be a little more comfortable while contracting out of state. The Airstream was nice, but 25ft was more than we needed. Our most recent trailer is a 17ft Casita just like the last one. Just saying that your first RV/Camper may not be exactly what you want/need/expect.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:59 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 pm
fishboat wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:59 pm
Class B's are nice from a mobility & economy standpoint, but they are pricey. $100-$140K can go a long way in other, larger RV options..but, everything in RVs (or boats) are a tradeoff... Mobility/economy is not a bad thing.

Take a look at Sportsmobile..not heard of much, but they are into Class B's in a big way.

Image
I want that one.
Might have to sell some funds. . . :shock:
j :D
We are taking a trip to the factory in Fresno to check it out. Estimated 1 year backlog!!!

Want to meet up?

WoodSpinner

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Toons
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Toons » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:04 pm

westie wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:01 am
buy used, save money
Buy New(If you are able)
You Only Live Once. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:11 pm

ImaCheesehead wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:52 am
So far we have looked hard at Airstream, Roadtrek and Pleasure-Way -- any suggestions for other manufacturers to check out?

Have you looked at Leisure Travel Vans? They are gorgeous. We full time in a 41 foot class A and there are lots of places we cannot get in, but we love having all the space and storage. Have fun looking and traveling!
They are too big for our needs. Hope is to keep it under 21 feet—length limit for the Going to the Sun highway in Glacier.

Plateau FL is 23 ft and our max...

I have heard great things about Leisure Travel, but they are no longer in the Class-B market (per my research).

Thanks!

WoodSpinner

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:13 pm

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:08 am
With ALL forms of RV, pay close attention to the capacities. My parents own a camper that is legally overweight once the propane and fresh water tanks are full. I would never buy from a manufacturer that blatantly skirted safety regs like that. Seems to be a common practice.
Excellent advice!!

Thanks

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:40 pm

Toons wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:58 am
Roadtrek owner here for 5 years.
It has been a phenomenal journey and continuing.
Make sure it is the lifestyle you are looking for ,space wise.
We own a 20ft Roatrek Agile,perfect for the 2 of us.
As you mentioned we can go most anywhere,and boondocking options are endless.
Fits perfectly in parking lots.
24 mpg diesel engine.Fully equipped with solar panels.
Check out the "volt start" tecnology with Roadtrek.
Roadtrek or PleasureWay are the 2 brands ,personally I would consider if looking at the class B category.
Regarding pricing,,,they are in extremely high demand now,,wait time is considerable.
When we purchased ours 18-20% off retail was fairly standard,not sure now but negotiate with that in mind.
We have traveled across the country and back a couple of times,,and many points in between ,North South East West.
Here is an analogy for you once explained to me,
Life is like a yard stick,at age 60 you are over 2/3 the way through that yardstick.
Of that small portion left ,how long will you physically be able to enjoy exploring the country in a vehicle.
If it is what you want to do ,don't put it off..live your dream.
One of the best life decisions personally we have ever made
:wink:
.

Florida Keys :D
Image
Thanks for your insights! Enjoying life is one of the main reasons we retired. Still a big decision—definitely on a learning journey.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:47 pm

johnmattis wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:15 pm
I bought a new 2014 Airstream Interstate Class B and have used it for 4 years, 40k miles, perhaps 300 nights. It was not our first RV.

1. There is plenty of room inside for two of us. Sleeping is fine. The couch folds into a Cali King, and we unroll a 1” piece of foam onto it.

2. It is easy to park and maneuver. It is no wider than a F150 pickup, and only 4 feet longer. I can always find a spot at any grocery store to park.

3. Driving is scary if there is any wind, even small winds. A 25 mph gust will push you out of your lane at 60 mph. It's exhausting fighting wind, and really slows things down when you have to keep the speed below 55 for a day.

Specific to Airstream: The Airstream is awful. Design, components, quality, and service are all awful. Just awful. The people who designed and built the Airstream Class B have never used an RV and hate their customers. Unfixable leaks and squeaks, and so much stuff that just never works. There are 50 things in my Airstream van that just make me ask, "Why did they do that? What were they thinking?" As for expenses, costs add up fixing all the stupid stuff Airstream did (or didn't do). For example, adding an audio input would have cost them nothing when building the van, but would take me all day to add it now.

I'll sell mine as soon as I get the exploding airbag replaced. I've been waiting more than a year for the part.

John
Exploading Airbag? :idea: :shock:

Sounds like quite a story! Is this MB part?


WoodSpinner

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:51 pm

alexander29 wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:56 pm
We have a 2016 Pleasureway Plateau TS and like it very much. Not any major problems yet. Mobility is great, but storage space is limited, as you would expect. The on-demand hot water on ours is fussy but I believe Pleasureway has gone to a better brand. Things we newbies didn’t really think about when shopping:
1. We really like having the kitchen and side door on the passenger side because when you back into a campsite, that’s usually the side with your campground table, etc.
2. Most of our utility hookups are on the driver side, as they should be, but our fill for the water tank is on the passenger side, away from the site faucet. Just a little more awkward at times.
3. Recommend as many solar panels as is affordable. Feeding the batteries becomes a big deal.
4. Ground clearance is limited. Pleasureway and Roadtrek aren’t designed as rough road or freezing winter vehicles.
5. The connections to empty the holding tank are quite low. This is good because gravity is your friend, but there is some bending and kneeling required.

But overall, our rig is well made and a lot of fun. Enjoy!
Appreciate the info! Ground Clearance and ability to go on dirt/gravel washboard is a key concern. Have you had yours off pavement?

Thanks

WoodSpinner

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Toons
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Toons » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:51 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:40 pm
Toons wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:58 am
Roadtrek owner here for 5 years.
It has been a phenomenal journey and continuing.
Make sure it is the lifestyle you are looking for ,space wise.
We own a 20ft Roatrek Agile,perfect for the 2 of us.
As you mentioned we can go most anywhere,and boondocking options are endless.
Fits perfectly in parking lots.
24 mpg diesel engine.Fully equipped with solar panels.
Check out the "volt start" tecnology with Roadtrek.
Roadtrek or PleasureWay are the 2 brands ,personally I would consider if looking at the class B category.
Regarding pricing,,,they are in extremely high demand now,,wait time is considerable.
When we purchased ours 18-20% off retail was fairly standard,not sure now but negotiate with that in mind.
We have traveled across the country and back a couple of times,,and many points in between ,North South East West.
Here is an analogy for you once explained to me,
Life is like a yard stick,at age 60 you are over 2/3 the way through that yardstick.
Of that small portion left ,how long will you physically be able to enjoy exploring the country in a vehicle.
If it is what you want to do ,don't put it off..live your dream.
One of the best life decisions personally we have ever made
:wink:
.

Florida Keys :D
Image
Thanks for your insights! Enjoying life is one of the main reasons we retired. Still a big decision—definitely on a learning journey.

We had never camped a day in our life,when we purchased the Roadtrek :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Sandtrap
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:06 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:59 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 pm
fishboat wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:59 pm
Class B's are nice from a mobility & economy standpoint, but they are pricey. $100-$140K can go a long way in other, larger RV options..but, everything in RVs (or boats) are a tradeoff... Mobility/economy is not a bad thing.

Take a look at Sportsmobile..not heard of much, but they are into Class B's in a big way.

Image
I want that one.
Might have to sell some funds. . . :shock:
j :D
We are taking a trip to the factory in Fresno to check it out. Estimated 1 year backlog!!!

Want to meet up?

WoodSpinner
Will ask DW.
If I go I might come back with one.
Along the way will have to post a query on which fund to sell to buy it. . . . . (kidding).
To me, the only limitation of many class B's is lack of four wheel drive and ground clearance.
The Roadtreks, and those types look like they would take serious undercarriage damage on the highest speed bumps.
That Pleasure Way is beautiful.
Did you look at the Travato?
It can be had with a dodge chassis instead of a mercedes. I think.
There are some youtube videos where the travato is featured. "FitRV" is one.
mahalo,
j :D

tibbitts
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by tibbitts » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:00 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:06 pm

Along the way will have to post a query on which fund to sell to buy it. . . . . (kidding).
You could have bought the new B of your choice with the amount your funds went down this week (not kidding.)

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:50 pm

Sigh, just had that conversation with my lovely wife .....

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:55 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:06 pm
WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:59 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:56 pm
fishboat wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:59 pm
Class B's are nice from a mobility & economy standpoint, but they are pricey. $100-$140K can go a long way in other, larger RV options..but, everything in RVs (or boats) are a tradeoff... Mobility/economy is not a bad thing.

Take a look at Sportsmobile..not heard of much, but they are into Class B's in a big way.

Image
I want that one.
Might have to sell some funds. . . :shock:
j :D
We are taking a trip to the factory in Fresno to check it out. Estimated 1 year backlog!!!

Want to meet up?

WoodSpinner
Will ask DW.
If I go I might come back with one.
Along the way will have to post a query on which fund to sell to buy it. . . . . (kidding).
To me, the only limitation of many class B's is lack of four wheel drive and ground clearance.
The Roadtreks, and those types look like they would take serious undercarriage damage on the highest speed bumps.
That Pleasure Way is beautiful.
Did you look at the Travato?
It can be had with a dodge chassis instead of a mercedes. I think.
There are some youtube videos where the travato is featured. "FitRV" is one.
mahalo,
j :D
We haven’t looked hard at the Travato since we really didn’t like the floor plan that much and haven’t heard great feedback on their build quality.

I think ground clearance is an issue to be concerned about, 4x4 would help.

There is a good aftermarket 4x4 available through WhiteFeather in RedBluff CA.

WoodSpinner

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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by 123 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:14 pm

You're making a good choice with a Class-B RV. They've gone quite a ways upscale since my parents had one after they retired. They were comfortable going across the country every which way and up into Canada on annual trips that were 6 - 12 weeks in length depending on how they felt and whee they wanted to go. They enjoyed the ability to stop and have a meal whenever they wanted as well as the ability to camp just about anywhere that someone wouldn't chase them away. And when my dad got tired of driving for the day they could just stop. It made it real convenient to visit relatives since they could just park in a side-yard or driveway for the most part. They has the best excuse to not accept hospitality when asked to stay in the host's home overnight, "Oh we'd rather stay in the RV, we've got all our stuff in there and it's all organized just the way we like it".

Enjoy your travels.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Nestegg_User » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:45 pm

We’d looked at C’s and they were too small for us, much less B’s.... and the prices noted here..way too high for what you get ( never saw many used B’s, mostly C’s. There are dealers that specialize in only A and B resale that we’ve looked at but they don’t really give you that much off buying new from what we saw ). Didn’t see where many B’s were rated for low temps and certainly not capable of getting off road (unless you went with a specialty company version)

We’ve decided to go with regular trailer, maybe up to 24’; haven’t decided yet which but did get a new truck: 250 crewcab. (not to derail but haven’t seen recent threads on RV trailers...anybody remember any?)

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Sandtrap
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:28 am

One of the strongest reasons for considering a smaller Class B over others was the ability to park in parking lot size stalls like Holiday Inn, etc. So when traveling, I'm not limited to strictly staying in the RV.
j :D

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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:31 am

Nearing_Destination wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:45 pm
We’d looked at C’s and they were too small for us, much less B’s.... and the prices noted here..way too high for what you get ( never saw many used B’s, mostly C’s. There are dealers that specialize in only A and B resale that we’ve looked at but they don’t really give you that much off buying new from what we saw ). Didn’t see where many B’s were rated for low temps and certainly not capable of getting off road (unless you went with a specialty company version)

We’ve decided to go with regular trailer, maybe up to 24’; haven’t decided yet which but did get a new truck: 250 crewcab. (not to derail but haven’t seen recent threads on RV trailers...anybody remember any?)
These were the reasons that I still haven't purchased a Travato or Roadtrek, and went so far as to consider a high end "slide in truck camper" or a small but luxurious/loaded trailer. The advantage of the truck and trailer combo is having the storage of the truck bed (unless a fifth wheel setup) and the ability to leave the trailer hooked up at a camp ground and still have a vehicle to run errands.
Also, less hassle maintaining and paying for another vehicle.
Choices. Choices.

tibbitts
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by tibbitts » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:43 am

Nearing_Destination wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:45 pm
We’d looked at C’s and they were too small for us, much less B’s.... and the prices noted here..way too high for what you get ( never saw many used B’s, mostly C’s. There are dealers that specialize in only A and B resale that we’ve looked at but they don’t really give you that much off buying new from what we saw ). Didn’t see where many B’s were rated for low temps and certainly not capable of getting off road (unless you went with a specialty company version)

We’ve decided to go with regular trailer, maybe up to 24’; haven’t decided yet which but did get a new truck: 250 crewcab. (not to derail but haven’t seen recent threads on RV trailers...anybody remember any?)
I had an extended cab short-bed and a "22" trailer (23.5ft.) and there were lots of places I couldn't go with it that a B could go, so it's a tradeoff. And for me u-turns are a big part of traveling life; they'd be easier to do in a B. The trailer was nice and roomy once set up, but one shortcoming was only having a dinette and not comfortable chairs. An appeal of Bs is that they usually have swivel front seats, giving you a comfortable place to sit. A trailer has mores tire and axles and brakes to maintain, so if the B can serve as a second car you would have anyway, that's another B advantage. There is no perfect solution.

denovo
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by denovo » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:54 am

WoodSpinner wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:37 am


Disclaimer: We realize this decision is much more about a lifestyle choice than about straight economic analysis. Before I got married I spent months living out of a Ford Explorer and know quite a bit about Boondocking and Stealth camping. Its a really different experience than renting hotel rooms, or travelling in larger RVs.

Thanks in advance for any insights and suggestions.

WoodSpinner 8-)
Although you have some experience with living out a vehicle, you were a lot younger then, and presumably your wife doesn't have that experience. Maybe you will both like it. I would suggest renting on for a month first to see if it's all you think it's cracked to be before making a huge purchase.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

alexander29
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by alexander29 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:13 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:51 pm
alexander29 wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:56 pm
We have a 2016 Pleasureway Plateau TS and like it very much. Not any major problems yet. Mobility is great, but storage space is limited, as you would expect. The on-demand hot water on ours is fussy but I believe Pleasureway has gone to a better brand. Things we newbies didn’t really think about when shopping:
1. We really like having the kitchen and side door on the passenger side because when you back into a campsite, that’s usually the side with your campground table, etc.
2. Most of our utility hookups are on the driver side, as they should be, but our fill for the water tank is on the passenger side, away from the site faucet. Just a little more awkward at times.
3. Recommend as many solar panels as is affordable. Feeding the batteries becomes a big deal.
4. Ground clearance is limited. Pleasureway and Roadtrek aren’t designed as rough road or freezing winter vehicles.
5. The connections to empty the holding tank are quite low. This is good because gravity is your friend, but there is some bending and kneeling required.

But overall, our rig is well made and a lot of fun. Enjoy!
Appreciate the info! Ground Clearance and ability to go on dirt/gravel washboard is a key concern. Have you had yours off pavement?

Thanks

WoodSpinner
Yes, we take it off pavement. A reasonably maintained Forest Service road is fine, but anything with huge potholes, big rocks, or steep drops (such as a very steep driveway entering a level street) can knock things around or scrape. The rear mud flags and side flares are designed to rub before you start grinding against a pipe or the generator. The rig is not bad in light snow, but not designed for deep snow or deep sand. Our model has the "dually" twin rear wheels, which helps stabilize it in high winds: so far wind has not been much of a problem. We've also had it out during high-altitude freeze nights that warm up during the day without a problem, but an extended freeze during mid-winter risks freezing pipes or tanks.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tips on Buying a Class-B RV

Post by WoodSpinner » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:18 pm

alexander29 wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:13 pm
WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:51 pm
alexander29 wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:56 pm
We have a 2016 Pleasureway Plateau TS and like it very much. Not any major problems yet. Mobility is great, but storage space is limited, as you would expect. The on-demand hot water on ours is fussy but I believe Pleasureway has gone to a better brand. Things we newbies didn’t really think about when shopping:
1. We really like having the kitchen and side door on the passenger side because when you back into a campsite, that’s usually the side with your campground table, etc.
2. Most of our utility hookups are on the driver side, as they should be, but our fill for the water tank is on the passenger side, away from the site faucet. Just a little more awkward at times.
3. Recommend as many solar panels as is affordable. Feeding the batteries becomes a big deal.
4. Ground clearance is limited. Pleasureway and Roadtrek aren’t designed as rough road or freezing winter vehicles.
5. The connections to empty the holding tank are quite low. This is good because gravity is your friend, but there is some bending and kneeling required.

But overall, our rig is well made and a lot of fun. Enjoy!
Appreciate the info! Ground Clearance and ability to go on dirt/gravel washboard is a key concern. Have you had yours off pavement?

Thanks

WoodSpinner
Yes, we take it off pavement. A reasonably maintained Forest Service road is fine, but anything with huge potholes, big rocks, or steep drops (such as a very steep driveway entering a level street) can knock things around or scrape. The rear mud flags and side flares are designed to rub before you start grinding against a pipe or the generator. The rig is not bad in light snow, but not designed for deep snow or deep sand. Our model has the "dually" twin rear wheels, which helps stabilize it in high winds: so far wind has not been much of a problem. We've also had it out during high-altitude freeze nights that warm up during the day without a problem, but an extended freeze during mid-winter risks freezing pipes or tanks.
Alexander,

Many thanks for the feedback! It’s invaluable!

Ground clearence below the Blackwater tanks seems sketchy, about 6” and Ha’s us worried. Your input really helps!

So far the Plateau FL seems to be the rig at top of our list. DW vetoed a Roadtrek CS in 4x4 today ( loved the rig) due to the layout of the interior. Can’t blame her, it doesn’t feel as spacious or airy, but the 4x4 layout along with a spare was sweet.

Some more research to do, but we are getting closer.

Great input from everyone! It really has helped.

WoodSpinner

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