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Lily

Solar Panels

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Hiya Guys!

It's us again!  Hubby and I are looking into both the "Newells" AND "Country Coaches" for FULL TIME RV'ING.  

We're wondering...why is RARE to find just a couple in our search of many, many, many MOTORHOMES with already installed Solar Panels?

BTW!  We just got our Escapee Membership cards! Won't be long til we'll be on the road! 

Thanks!

Nate and Lily 

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Here's a couple things that occur to me.

Most RVers stay in parks with hookups so they don't spend money on solar.

Dealers don't always list solar panels when advertising used RVs. They only market the original equipment. I have no idea why. I was surprised that the dealer in California that took our View in trade didn't mention the solar system when reselling the unit.

Linda Sand

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x2 for Linda.

Most people do not boondock and pull into an RV park each night. We don't boondock often but want to be able to if needed. In the last 2 months we have boondocked maybe 1 week. We plan to do more but are heading east now and boondocking spots are rare.

We have always added at least one panel just to maintain the battery charge when in storage. Now that we are full time and have a residential refrigerator we have had 4  panels installed and space for 2 more if needed. We have also added AGM batteries since they chrage faster(and other benefits). Do not have a dealer do the install. Contact AM Solar or RV Solar(I am sure there are more) for an installer that they recommend and a system that they recommend.

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Congratulations on your Escapee membership! Consider this to be your first Escapee hug.

Another reason that you don't see much solar on the two brands that you just mentioned is that both of those coaches can easily spend 2 or 3 nights without hookups and not having any solar. Newells especially have ample battery power for several days and most come with an auto-start generator on board that will self-start to charge the batteries back up with no owner intervention. Country Coach closed their doors back in 2010 but they were a top line coach, although not in the same market as Newell. The Newell website lists a used 2007 coach for only $425,000. It is factory reconditioned and I believe has a short warranty period. It is just a little bit rich for my budget but they are really nice and last a very long time. We used to know a couple who lived fulltime in a 1977 Newell. 

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Thank you Kirk!  Read your response to hubby, you really have offered some good information !  With what you shared, I'm CONVINCED the Newell's are the best choice.  BUT we're not looking at the ones not priced THAT HIGH LOL!

We'll Check out that link too!  So far we've been on RV Trader and Motorhomes of Texas!

Thank YOU! Nate and Lily

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16 hours ago, SWharton said:

x2 for Linda.

Most people do not boondock and pull into an RV park each night. We don't boondock often but want to be able to if needed. In the last 2 months we have boondocked maybe 1 week. We plan to do more but are heading east now and boondocking spots are rare.

We have always added at least one panel just to maintain the battery charge when in storage. Now that we are full time and have a residential refrigerator we have had 4  panels installed and space for 2 more if needed. We have also added AGM batteries since they chrage faster(and other benefits). Do not have a dealer do the install. Contact AM Solar or RV Solar(I am sure there are more) for an installer that they recommend and a system that they recommend.

Thank you Linda!  We've been wondering who the best places are to go to for solar panels! 

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17 hours ago, sandsys said:

Here's a couple things that occur to me.

Most RVers stay in parks with hookups so they don't spend money on solar.

Dealers don't always list solar panels when advertising used RVs. They only market the original equipment. I have no idea why. I was surprised that the dealer in California that took our View in trade didn't mention the solar system when reselling the unit.

Linda Sand

Yanno, that's what we kinda figured, is most use hookups....so hearing it from you just confirms "Our"thoughts too...but wanted to put that question out there, as it didn't make sense to us. LOL

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Newell is an excellent choice, especially if you like to boon dock. Biggest tanks and biggest battery banks of any motorhome I have seen. and if you are looking at earlier coach [pre 2004 maybe?], It will probably have basement air which will give you a lot of real estate on the roof for panels. I had 750 watts on my 95, could have installed 750 more with no problem. Plus many Newells have the big escape hatch in the bathroom to get up on the roof to work on the panels. Another plus is the aluminum skin, I used unistrut and VHB tape for my panels, did not have to drill any holes. Mel at MOT knows a lot about Newells. He sold me mine.

 

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Motorhomes of Texas is a good place to look.  http://motorhomesoftexas.com/c#/coachesrv/all/default/all/all/all

Also check out PPL consignment in Houston.  That's where we sold ours.  You have to check regularly as the good ones move out fast. They get a LOT of traffic at that place & also folks put in requests in case the kind they're looking for comes in.

I see MOT has their lowest cost Newell at $122,500 for a 1999 and 2003's range from $129,500 - $199,500..... and more expensive ones.

Don't rule out Country Coach or Newmar. They are both well-made and many full-timers drive them.

RE: Solar Panels on used..... when we went from a 5h wheel we took of our panels and put them on our Newmar.  We know of others who have done that. 

RE: Boondocking.... we did that on BLM or national forest lands or dry camped in public parks 90% of our 16 years of full-timing.  We only had 300w of solar but we also stayed primarily in the western states where there is SUN. We're also not power hogs and 300w was plenty for us.  We also did not have a residential refrigerator.  Our tanks were 105 fresh water; 65 grey and 45 black.  We could boondocked for 12-14 days.  By that time we were ready to change scenery anyway so it was no big deal to drive and dump/refill and head for a new spot.  You certainly don't need the biggest tanks out there unless you don't plan on moving for months!

Good luck in your quest!

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One of the nicest features of coaches such as these is the vast storage that they have under the floor and the fact that they also have the cargo weight capacity to be able to carry most anything that you fill them with, short of a stack of bricks. You do want to have the coach checked out by a professional inspector or by a good RV tech and a diesel mechanic. Get one in sound condition and it will last as long as you do. 

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Lily if you're interested in Newells I would suggest to go on the Newellgurus.com website.  More information than you can imagine about Newells from the older classics to mid to late 2000s.

I know the previous owner of the 1999 Newell at MOT and have seen that coach recently and it is in very nice condition and well maintained.  PM me and I can give you more info on it.

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10 hours ago, jcussen said:

Newell is an excellent choice, especially if you like to boon dock. Biggest tanks and biggest battery banks of any motorhome I have seen. and if you are looking at earlier coach [pre 2004 maybe?], It will probably have basement air which will give you a lot of real estate on the roof for panels. I had 750 watts on my 95, could have installed 750 more with no problem. Plus many Newells have the big escape hatch in the bathroom to get up on the roof to work on the panels. Another plus is the aluminum skin, I used unistrut and VHB tape for my panels, did not have to drill any holes. Mel at MOT knows a lot about Newells. He sold me mine.

 

Thanks ! Jcussen! sounds like we ARE on the right track with all the research we've been doing.  We're preparing to sell our house. Hoping we'll be ready to transition into a "Newell" around December?  Thinking we need to stay in the $150,000 to the $200,000 range, which might be a little tricky since they're an expensive motorhome plus we have some high expectations? LOL, But who KNOWS what miracles could occur then right??

 

Here's a couple that we've got our eye on:

 https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2003-Newell-Coach-45--5000048800

http://www.bus-stuff.com/2004Newell_Premium1129.html

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21 minutes ago, folivier said:

Lily if you're interested in Newells I would suggest to go on the Newellgurus.com website.  More information than you can imagine about Newells from the older classics to mid to late 2000s.

I know the previous owner of the 1999 Newell at MOT and have seen that coach recently and it is in very nice condition and well maintained.  PM me and I can give you more info on it.

Thank you Folivier!  We ARE interested!  Hoping to stay in the $150,000 - $200,000 range.   We're hoping to have our home sold by December and then try to transition into our new Motorhome by then?  Is this PMing you?  or is there another way?

Here's a couple Hubby and I are interested in: 

http://www.bus-stuff.com/2004Newell_Premium1129.html

https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2003-Newell-Coach-45--5000048800

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8 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Motorhomes of Texas is a good place to look.  http://motorhomesoftexas.com/c#/coachesrv/all/default/all/all/all

Also check out PPL consignment in Houston.  That's where we sold ours.  You have to check regularly as the good ones move out fast. They get a LOT of traffic at that place & also folks put in requests in case the kind they're looking for comes in.

I see MOT has their lowest cost Newell at $122,500 for a 1999 and 2003's range from $129,500 - $199,500..... and more expensive ones.

Don't rule out Country Coach or Newmar. They are both well-made and many full-timers drive them.

RE: Solar Panels on used..... when we went from a 5h wheel we took of our panels and put them on our Newmar.  We know of others who have done that. 

RE: Boondocking.... we did that on BLM or national forest lands or dry camped in public parks 90% of our 16 years of full-timing.  We only had 300w of solar but we also stayed primarily in the western states where there is SUN. We're also not power hogs and 300w was plenty for us.  We also did not have a residential refrigerator.  Our tanks were 105 fresh water; 65 grey and 45 black.  We could boondocked for 12-14 days.  By that time we were ready to change scenery anyway so it was no big deal to drive and dump/refill and head for a new spot.  You certainly don't need the biggest tanks out there unless you don't plan on moving for months!

Good luck in your quest!

Thanks 2gypsies!  We've been looking at the Newells on Motorhomes of Texas, RV Trader, and BusStuff?  We ARE trying to keep it between, $150,000 to $200,000 range.  Someone at a State Park did mention PPL.  We'll have to look at that sight again.  We like Country Coach too.  Not sure about Newmar.  What our thinking is, picking the BEST quality for resale, like about 10 years or so?  Thanks for sharing your solar wisdom too! Going to read this to hubby!

Thanks for all your help!  LOVE your name btw

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Those are a couple good looking coaches. I can see why you'd be attracted to them.

Linda Sand

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Newmar and Tiffin both build some very nice coaches and are very popular with long histories of quality and factory support. But they are not generally considered to be in the same category as the Newell, or Marathon lines. Marathon is in that same group as the Newell. For a comparison, check out this link for a used Marathon listing.

The nearest thing that Newmar builds to the two above would be the Essex line which probably does get pretty close but for your money, you could get something with a few fewer years of experience. Tiffin builds the Zephyr which competes with the Essex but both cost a bit less than Newell.

I must admit that my thoughts on any of these 4 coaches come only from observation and reading as I have never owned anything in that price range. As I look back over the years, I think that if I were shopping for a coach to live in for years of travel today, I would take a serious look at any of those 4 coaches in one of the older used versions to fit my budget. The RV market for such coaches has expanded greatly since we did our research back in the 90's and my view has changed. The one caveat that I would make is to realize that those coaches when well maintained will serve well for many years but if you do need major repairs those repairs will be far more expensive on coaches of that category than for something more in the line of the average RV. For any RV you need to budget well for costly repairs and for used RVs that is far more important. I strongly suggest you consider the purchase of an extended warranty for your chosen RV, or take the advice of BarbOK who suggests that you set aside a cash reserve of 10% of the price of the RV for repairs and then add money to that every year so that you are prepared when an expensive repair does happen. And be sure to get a professional evaluation of any used RV before you buy it. 

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Kirk hit the nail on the head.  Many larger DP (diesel pushers) will have a battery bank for the house consisting of 6 to 8 batteries, which usually are golf cart batteries.  That is a bunch of dry camping power.  My buddy has 6 on his Tiffin and can go 48 hours running everything but a/c.  We have 8 and can stretch it to almost 4 days with everything but a/c.  

Sometimes you may see a very small solar panel on the roof of a large DP toward the rear.  In recent years it has become popular by some manufacturers to put a 1'x2' panel there to keep the engine batteries charged.

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Agree with Kirk, however believe the King Air is closer in quality to the Newell than the Essex. Have looked at both at Motorhomes of Texas recently. The years of Newell you are looking at will probably have the Detroit Series 60 engine and the Allison 4000 transmission, both thought to have some of the best reliability ratings. If you are interested in a coach at Motorhomes of Texas, you can hire mechanics that work there to do a PDI {pre delivery inspection] after their normal work hours of course, before you actually buy the coach.

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Why are you not looking at Foretravels? MOT specializes in them!    If we were looking now, that is where we would be looking.  They are very good coaches and will have all of the bells and whistles that you could want.    

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7 hours ago, jcussen said:

Agree with Kirk, however believe the King Air is closer in quality to the Newell than the Essex.

You are correct, I didn't think of the King.  🤔

I think that with the budget in mind, you should probably also take a look at coaches like the Newmar Dutch Star, Allegro Phaeton, and possibly the Winnebago Grand Tour. These are not quite what the Newell or Marathon would be but they are also high quality, well thought of diesel coaches. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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Again, why is no one suggesting looking at Foretravels, that Motorhomes of Texas has on their lot?   Am I the only one who knows what great coaches they are?

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1 hour ago, Barbaraok said:

Again, why is no one suggesting looking at Foretravels, that Motorhomes of Texas has on their lot?   Am I the only one who knows what great coaches they are?

Agree with you there, have had 4 Foretravel's and 1 Newell. From the links Lily posted, appears she likes the lighter laminates, quite common in Newells, not so much in Foretravel's. There is a difference in quality though. Would still have my Newell, except for the fact the older Newells had beam axles, massive wheelbases and non lifting/turning tags. Newer ones have IFS and turning tags, making them very maneuverable. Foretravel's are generally not near as tall, making many state parks more accessible, and are generally lighter. My present Foretravel is 40 ft, with lifting tag, so turns like a 38 footer and is 42000 lbs. Most Newells after 95 are 45 ft and 50000 lbs +. Like my Foretravel now, but if I went full time and spent a lot more time in the coach, would go back to the Newell. 

 

Edited by jcussen

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13 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Am I the only one who knows what great coaches they are?

I rather doubt that you are the only expert here and I know from the past that there are others here who have a high opinion of the Foretravel. I didn't suggest them because I do not happen to be part of that group. We have known very well 3 couples who owned used Foretravels and 2 of them had less than a positive experience, which is the reason that you do not see them on my short list. 

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

I rather doubt that you are the only expert here and I know from the past that there are others here who have a high opinion of the Foretravel. I didn't suggest them because I do not happen to be part of that group. We have known very well 3 couples who owned used Foretravels and 2 of them had less than a positive experience, which is the reason that you do not see them on my short list. 

Kurt, think you would be hard pressed to find any brand where someone has not had a less than positive experience. Foretravel quality is well know, and has been in production since the 60's.  Most people will figure out fairly quickly why a 10 yr old Foretravel DP will cost 3 times more than a 10 year old Bounder DP.  As you have mentioned before, you get what you pay for. You will see many older [90's] Foretravel's out there with 200-300000 miles on them and they are still quite solid.

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Kirk, 

If I remember correctly, one of those people who had a problem with a Foretravel it was the ENGINE.  That would be a Cummins problem, and could happen on any coach.  Very seldom that Cummins engines have severe problems and that has nothing to do with the coach.    And no one is saying that there can not be problems with any coaches.   But if someone is talking coaches at the very high end, not to include Foretravel seems to be quite unusual.    I wouldn't include Tiffin on my list of high end coaches to look at (even the Zephyr) because of the problems they had with the wet bays and front caps for a number of years.  

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