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FL-JOE

Disadvantages Of A Class A When Fulltiming

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15 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

That's the problem , brand new . 

They just don't make 'em like they use to . We've seen brand new high end RVs that have spent way more time in the shop than should be . 

I totally agree with that statement.  When we began our search for a DP we were only looking at 2 to 3 year old Tiffin and Newmar models.  I had went through buying a new fiver once and swore I would never buy a new RV of any type again.  After several months of searching we only found 2 that we wanted and both of them had been owned by folks with at least one dog.  You could still smell dog odor inside, right along with the strong deodorizer that the dealer was using trying to cover up the smell.  

We are at 10 months and I think all the bugs are about worked out.  Everything was very minor except the oil pan gasket leaking.

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14 hours ago, PunchItChewie said:

Me personally I'm looking at a HDT and TT, just for the lower initial cost aspect.  Have nothing against motor homes.  I'm sure I could pick up a used MH and trailer for the price of a HDT, and TT.

If that is what fits your needs then go for it.  If we weren't hauling around a car plus the Harley full time I may be in a totally different type of RV.  

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I almost forgot to mention that last month we visited the factory to get some minor items repaired.  While there we asked them to replace our cracked windshield.  They have to set it and seal it, therefore they leave it inside the work bay overnight with the entrance door open.  That was another night we had to stay elsewhere. 

So I guess based on all the comments here from actual class A full timers, I am running way above the average for being forced out of my coach overnight.  Two times in 10 months.

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I am always a bit amazed at the comments about only buying used RVs because of the many problems with a new one. In our 40+ years of owning RVs we have bought new 3 times and used 4 times and none have had major problems. Worst was the 74 Starcraft popup that had a 120V/12V refrigerator and too little battery to run it. That one was back 3 times and the refrigerator changed to one that used propane. The 98 class A had 1 warranty repair on the coach and our current 2012 travel trailer also had 1 warranty repair. We kept the Starcraft for 9 years, the Class A for 14 years and our present travel trailer is now 6 years old, I really don't see a significant difference in the overall maintenance and repair experiences for us between new and used other than that all used RV repairs were on me. No matter what one buys, the inspection before you take delivery is of major importance and I happen to be a stickler with a maintenance background so that may play a part. I suppose that we might just be really lucky as well? 

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If you use your RV and put significant mileage on it then things will wear out and/or break.  That's true for cars, as well, but cars are designed and tested at quantities many, many times larger than RVs.  So design defects and other repair problems are often found (by others) long before they can affect us--all we ever see is a recall notice or maybe the shop executes a TSB the next time the vehicle is in for service.

By comparison, the low volume at which RV's are produced makes it far more likely that you might be the first one to ever experience a problem or report it.  The coach we own was a relatively low production-rate model produced by a high quality, but relatively small, manufacturer.  We now have ~116k miles on it, more than >6k of which were put on in the past 60 days.   

We had one breakdown on this trip that required maintenance when a hydraulic hose developed a leak which deprived us of power steering and our cooling fan. It turns out that the hose leaked because a strapping bracket holding it in place had, after ~18 years, cut through the hose wall.  No doubt this was caused by vibration, but, it still could be considered a design flaw since a hose bracket shouldn't ever cut through the hose it is securing. 

If this sort of thing had happened with my CR-V no doubt some other drivers, who put on more miles per year than I do, might well have experienced this and Honda would have circulated a TSB that might have resulted in some extra cushioning be added to the bracket to protect the hose.  I might never be aware that a potential problem was averted.

That's fine with a vehicle of which ~378k were sold in 2017, but there were probably no more than a couple of hundred coaches similar to ours built during the 3-year production run with quite a few of those, no doubt, having been taken off the road by now.  And even among those that are still rolling, the chances are that some significant percentage will have fewer miles on them than we do.  As a result we might well be the first owner to ever experience this particular problem.

In summary, I could get frustrated and label this as another example of poor RV design and execution or I could just judge it to be another example of the fact that these are complex machines that vibration eventually takes its toll on regardless of how well built they are when new.  I've chose to do the latter and, after two days of down time, we were on our way and had a fabulous summer journey to Durango, Crater Lake, Yellowstone and multiple places along the way.

Joel (AKA docj)

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While it is true that a complete and in depth inspection prior to taking delivery is important, it will not keep your new or used RV out of the shop.  With a new class A for example you can crawl all over it and even have a paid inspector go over it, but all the systems on it have never really been tested much.  Our new class A developed a macerator toilet leak in the first month after full time use, not something you would find on an inspection.  After a couple months the entrance door awning stopped, bad motor, not something any inspection or maintenance would catch.  Again, oil pan gasket began seeping.  It was clean as a whistle at delivery with 1,500 miles on the motor.  

Now if I continue to stay up on my maintenance and take good care of this coach in 2 or 3 years it could still be trouble free with 40,000 miles on it.  At that point a second owner could very well purchase it and go a long time without anything going wrong.  

I consider myself fortunate that only a handful of stuff has gone wrong with my RV.  I agree Kirk that you have to stay on top of repairs and maintenance.  If you include washing/waxing in the mix I probably spend an average of 12 hours or more a week maintaining my DP and trailer.  

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docj, I fully accept the fact that things will break on any RV I own.  Like you I don't dwell on it or get upset.  I actually enjoy learning about the different systems on my RV and maintaining them.

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20 minutes ago, docj said:

By comparison, the low volume at which RV's are produced makes it far more likely that you might be the first one to ever experience a problem or report it. 

Production numbers also impact the quality control efforts of RVs because quality control efforts have a very significant cost and that cost has to be recouped from unit sales. RV sales are very price competitive and so cutting the quality control efforts to a minimum helps to lower the actual sales price of each unit. If the RV industry were to institute a QC program like the aircraft industry has it would probably increase the selling price bye as much as 50%.

Edited by Kirk Wood

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But I want all the things... and I want all the power...and I want all the residential floof and falderol...

I was grumbling to a neighbor a couple cactus’sz over one morning about having to repair a 10 yr old fridge and he says, “You do know RV stands for Repair Vehicle, right?” 

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2 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

If that is what fits your needs then go for it.  If we weren't hauling around a car plus the Harley full time I may be in a totally different type of RV.  

That's why I'm researching a year before I buy.  I could easily put a vehicle on the deck of the HDT, and take my Harley as well.  I could also get a class A, and a toad.  That's why I'm glad I've found this forum.  Also if I went class A I'd buy used, only because it would be the more affordable way after selling the house.  I wouldn't shy away from new though.  People are human, and things get missed on quality checks.  Back in 04 I bought a brand new mustang that made it past the factory, and dealer with a cracked radiator support behind a headlight.

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FL-Joe,

Cummins Coach Care is the best option for service if you are traveling in areas where you don't know of a local repair shop.  We've used them coast-to-coast (and been locked into several yards overnight) for routine service and other work.

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4 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

This was a Freightliner Service center, not a Cummins repair facility... It wasn't a problem with being plugged in or being in or out of their bay, they won't let you stay in your coach on their property.  

I experienced that with Freightliner as well. They told me I could park overnight on the shoulder across the road from them.

Linda Sand

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6 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

FL-Joe,

Cummins Coach Care is the best option for service if you are traveling in areas where you don't know of a local repair shop.  We've used them coast-to-coast (and been locked into several yards overnight) for routine service and other work.

Thanks for the heads up on Cummins.  Since I have a Freightliner chassis and they have service centers all over that would be my initial pick even for a Cummins engine issue.  However, if I was ever too far away from one I would certainly attempt to locate a Cummins Coach Care.

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On 9/14/2018 at 3:10 PM, PunchItChewie said:

Me personally I'm looking at a HDT and TT, just for the lower initial cost aspect.  Have nothing against motor homes.  I'm sure I could pick up a used MH and trailer for the price of a HDT, and TT.

Just out of curiosity, what would you expect the price of an HDT and TT to be . . . ballpark?

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2 hours ago, Zulu said:

Just out of curiosity, what would you expect the price of an HDT and TT to be . . . ballpark?

New or used HDT? What year? What sort of bed, toolboxes,etc? What sort of trailer? Custom made New Horizon or a Jayco? HDT could run anywhere from $20k to $100kplus. Trailer $15k to $200k. So which ballpark are we playing in?

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3 hours ago, Zulu said:

Just out of curiosity, what would you expect the price of an HDT and TT to be . . . ballpark?

Before the cost of a bed I'm seeing HDT's for as low as 12k in the year range I was searching (2006 and up).  Also seeing new TT that looked like they would work in the 30-40k range.  Obviously I know adding a bed to the HDT will increase the cost, but I'm looking to live in the trailer 6 or so months.  So would only be out initially the HDT and bumper hitch.  WA just requires a notarized letter to register as RV, no inspection required.  Most class A's that in pictures looked good to me were 50k and up.  Although I could use my f150 for my toad.  Another reason I'm leaning HDT over class A is the extended range, and I've heard (no experience) they do better on the passes.  But again I'm just starting to read about people's experiences with the different types. I do plan on going to a dealer, and looking at the different classes to see what I feel will be good for me.

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1 hour ago, Big5er said:

New or used HDT? What year? What sort of bed, toolboxes,etc? What sort of trailer? Custom made New Horizon or a Jayco? HDT could run anywhere from $20k to $100kplus. Trailer $15k to $200k. So which ballpark are we playing in?

Well from my limited reading up on it.  If money wasn't an issue I think a pre-emissions glider for the HDT, trailer I'm still on the fence.  However I believe it's Space Craft has some nice looking trailers of the couple I've seen online.

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8 hours ago, PunchItChewie said:

Before the cost of a bed I'm seeing HDT's for as low as 12k in the year range I was searching (2006 and up).  Also seeing new TT that looked like they would work in the 30-40k range.  Obviously I know adding a bed to the HDT will increase the cost, but I'm looking to live in the trailer 6 or so months.  So would only be out initially the HDT and bumper hitch.  WA just requires a notarized letter to register as RV, no inspection required.  Most class A's that in pictures looked good to me were 50k and up.  Although I could use my f150 for my toad.  Another reason I'm leaning HDT over class A is the extended range, and I've heard (no experience) they do better on the passes.  But again I'm just starting to read about people's experiences with the different types. I do plan on going to a dealer, and looking at the different classes to see what I feel will be good for me.

We briefly considered HDT's and MDT's trucks with a fiver combination when our search began for round 2 of full timing.  However, when I considered the total length of each RV combination (HDT + 40' fiver / Class A + 24' enclosed) I was still pretty long either way.  As far as hauling more fuel and extending my range that just wasn't important to me.  I don't mind stopping every 350 or 400 miles for fuel.  I really can't comment on how much better they would do on steep grades.  When I drove truck tractors in my younger days I always had 60,000 pounds or more on.  I know currently with my class A and just a little 400hp Cummins I pass all loaded commercial semi combinations on long steep grades, but I'm only pulling around 48,000 pounds total including the weight of my TV.

What appealed to me when looking at RVing with an HDT was driving it down the road and being able to easily maneuver it in campgrounds and other places.   It is almost like riding a motorcycle, once you are hooked you are hooked.  When I was 20 years old I certainly thought I would drive trucks the rest of my life.  

Good luck with your search and decision.  There is no wrong way to go, just what is perfect for you.

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Talking about the extended range for me is more of knowing I can safely bypass a fuel station to get to one with cheaper gas.  Not super important though, but the longer range would come in handy if I do the Alaska highway in early spring when not everything is open.  I also grew up in the midwest exposed to tractor trailers, and I've actually thought of driving one when it's time to find my 2nd career.  Class A does have some appeal for not having assist my 63lb dog in and out of the cab of a tractor.  I've also heard others mention what you did.  A HDT and 5er maneuvers better than a MH as far as tight spots in a park go.  I just need to get out, and look at them in person to get a feel for what I feel comfortable with.  Be it a 30ft (I rounded up, I know length varies) tractor towing a trailer,  a 30ish foot DP towing my f150, or a 250/350 towing a trailer. 

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One time we spent the  night in a Volvo dealer's lot, Nashville I think, they let me use a lot mule to place the trailer where we could plug in and then their parts runner took us to a grocery store! 

Last summer I spent several nights inside MorRyde's factory while I was having the independent suspension installed. That was a unique experience since the shop runs two shifts. 

Otherwise we have always been able to have on-the-road repairs done in one day.

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3 hours ago, PunchItChewie said:

A HDT and 5er maneuvers better than a MH as far as tight spots in a park go. 

Not that is something that I do not agree at all with, particularly in the lengths that you are speaking of. A great deal of which type will park more easily is in the spot that you are trying to put the RV, but I consider a motorized RV to be overall the least difficult to park. It is the only one that can see down both sides throughout the entire parking process..

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4 hours ago, PunchItChewie said:

A HDT and 5er maneuvers better than a MH as far as tight spots in a park go.

As someone who has work camped in an RV campground the last 3 of 4 years, I beg to differ.

From what I've seen, it's wholly dependent on the driver . . . and good/bad drivers seem to be equally dispersed between MH and 5ers -- and trailers, for that matter.

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2 hours ago, Zulu said:

From what I've seen, it's wholly dependent on the driver . . . and good/bad drivers seem to be equally dispersed between MH and 5ers -- and trailers, for that matter.

Another reason that it might make sense for RV drivers to have to pass a driving test for a higher license class.  To get my Class B CDL I had to be able to parallel park a vehicle as large as my MH, along with a few other maneuvers.  That training still comes in handy when backing my MH into an RV site!

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Of course it depends on the skill set of the driver.  My comparison for PunchltChewie was between a set up like mine (DP pulling a 24' enclosed trailer) and a HDT pulling a large fiver.  The HDT/fiver will probably have a better turning radius on corners inside a CG plus if the need arose could be backed in needing less room.  

Of course there are other factors that come into play.  Some long DP's with tag axles have turning tags like mine.  This can cut the radius down some when making those tight turns pulling a long trailer.

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