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Loved RV experience, thinking of full timing, what do you think about Fleetwood Bounder as a quality vehicle?


usaperuvian

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We have been vacationing in the RV about every 3 weeks now and our longest trip was for 3 weeks across country. We love traveling. Have talked to my darling husband and he is starting to get on board for full timing after our son finishes with Boise State University. I found this vehicle that I like and would like to know if the manufacturer is respected, is it a quality model, and what have your experiences been using (or hearing about) this vehicle. 2014 or 2015 Bounder 33C by Fleetwood What do you think about the floorplan for being a full time home?

2015 Bounder 33C | Fleetwood RV
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The Bounder is an average entry level gas engine powered motorhome. Expect to get 7 to 8 mpg as normal for the unit. What will you tow for you dinghy. You need to make sure it is towable or use a dolly. It will need to have axillary brake as well.

 

You need to spend some time in the unit and basically play house. See where you will store food, linens, summer and winter clothes, outdoor stuff like lawn chairs, fishing equipment and so on. The biggest short coming we keep seeing in motorhomes is the lack of a pantry or other storage for food.

 

Each person has their own requirements, but we found a 40' 5th wheel better suited our full time life style. Others get by with a 25' class C motorhome.

 

As a first time RV purchase, I'd recommend shopping fro a higher end unit that was 3 to 5 years old. Let someone else get all of the bugs worked out plus pay the big depreciation.

 

Ken

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Fleetwood has a long and rather checkered history, beginning with it's founding in 1950, becoming the largest RV manufacturer in the world and then dismantling by bankruptcy in 2009, when the motorized RV section and the name was sold to American Industrial Partners. They then combined it with several other manufacturing divisions to become Allied Specialty Vehicles, who own and operate the company today. While they do build some diesel models, Ken gives what I consider to be a pretty accurate description of the Bounder line today. They are aimed mostly at the mid to lower price market. The Bounder 33C is modest in size when compared to many of the RVs chosen for fulltime RV living and you will also find many who feel that only a diesel will suffice for it, but I am one of those who have experience to prove differently. We actually owned a Ford chassis class A for 14 years, living all of the time in it for nearly 12 years total. We found that the lower cost of a more modest RV allowed us to enter the fulltime world debt free, without spending an excessive amount of our financial reserves to do so.

 

Nobody can tell you how much space you actually need, but if you are comfortable, then do not let anyone say that you are wrong. We proved that we were able to go the same places and to see and experience the same things as anyone who lives in a bigger or more expensive RV might do. The Bounder, being in a lower price/quality range will show more wear and tear than would something like a Newmar Dutch Star, or many other higher priced diesel rigs, but it will serve you well. Keep in mind that the size of those who live in an RV plays a part in the amount of space required. Pam & I are not large people and that is probably one of the reasons that we were happy in our smaller RV. We are also not very socially concerned and so having a more humble home was just fine with us as was not climbing mountains quite as rapidly and a few of the other things which gas RVs experience.

 

I have no way of knowing what you may need, but in looking at the floor plan for that coach, I believe that Pam & I could be very happy in it. Just as a Chevrolet is not as luxurious as riding in a Cadillac, the Bounder will not be the most luxurious, but it is sufficient for some of us. There are many satisfied Bounder gas coach owners out there traveling fulltime and there is no reason to walk away from this one if it meets your needs and fits your budget.

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Before purchasing the Bounder 33C, be sure to drive it. The wheelbase-to-length ratio is only 50.6% which the RV Consumers Group (www.rv.org) rates as dangerous.

 

Also, check availability of the back of the motorhome when the slides are in...it looks like the couch would block access to the bathroom and bedroom.

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You might benefit greatly if you were to join the RV Consumer Group, the organization that developed the idea. While I do not totally agree with everything that they publish, I have learned more from them than from any other one source. They are very active in the education of RV buyers and owners and do a lot of political activity in the interest of improving safety and quality in the industry. As far as I know they are the only RV rating organization that takes no advertising from any part of the RV industry, in an effort to remain unbiased. Much of the work is done by member volunteers and some is research based upon the published specifications from the manufacturers of the rated RVs. As a result of the no advertising policy, they do ask for users to either pay dues as a member or pay for the information that they publish.

 

Many public libraries have copies of at least some of their documentation so you may be able see at least some of it that way.

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For full-time use, you need to be sure it has adequate storage for your clothing. We travel with light weight winter clothing and layer in the winter to avoid carry heavy bulky coats.

 

We use the space bags and Rubber Maid tubs to store the off season clothing.

 

We see lots of folks with limited food storage keeping some of the dry goods in tubs in tha basement. We prefer to have a real pantry and keep what we use in the living space of the RV.

 

In the bath, is there room for toilteries? Make sure you fit in the shower and can sit on the toilet. No kidding, we had one that inorder to pull up yor pants, you had to open the bathroom door.

 

With a 33' plus motorhome, I would also get 50 amp electrical and TWO A/C units. Something that you will want is a solar screen to reduce the heat coming in through the massive windshield.

 

Hydraulic levers are a must have in my book.

 

In making the deal, you should be able to buy a new motorhome for 25 to 30% off of the MSRP. When you go to pick up the RV, do not sign any papers until the motorhome has had all systems and equipment demonstrated to you and everything is 100% to your satisfaction. Once they have the money things change. Also do not take the unit with any promise that they will fix it when you bring it back for warranty work. You should leave with everything working. Do not buy the dealer add ons for fabric protection or paint sealants. These are BIG money makers fro them. Also, the extended warranties are big money makers as well. Shop them on line and you will not need one for the first year of ownership anyway.

 

Above all do not show up at the dealer with "stars in your eyes" and do not fall in love with the first thing you see. Make the dealer an offer and if he says no, leave him your phone numer and leave. Odds are you will hear from him within a couple of days with a counter offer.

 

Have fun shopping.

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The Bounder is not desirable now due to not being safe because of the wheelbase and shady reputation.

 

 

Where can I go to find motorhomes from 2005 to current that have fireplaces. I really like that feature because it looks more homey to me. Do I just keep googling and looking or is there a website where I can put in options desired and they list a variety of models? Later on I may have to eliminate it but before I do I want to know what is available.

 

 

Thanks for all your help.

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Fireplaces are nice but we couldn't fit one in either of our last two fivers without giving up space that we had a much better use for. If you can find a floor plan that works for you with one there are good quality ones available but also a lot of poor quality ones that you'll not be happy with.

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Where can I go to find motorhomes from 2005 to current that have fireplaces.

Like Stanley, I'd not put too much emphasis on a false fireplace. Are you willing to spend the money to get a larger RV in order to have one fit into a reasonable floor plan? A great deal depends upon the budget you have and the way you are willing to spend that money. We wanted to go with new so that we could order ours exactly as we wanted it and settled for a gas coach in order to make that fit into our budget without depleting our nest egg for the day we had to leave the fulltime lifestyle. But you can find most things of high priority in a used coach if you are willing to look long enough and to travel in order to find it. I agree with most all that was advised by the Iceman.

 

My thoughts are that you might be wise to not make any interior absolutes until you have spent a lot of time looking at the different makes, models, and floor-plans of available RVs. If you have not done that as yet, you may be surprised by the wider range of choices out there. Just spend some time in each candidate RV and imagine going through each of your daily activities as you would when living there. It is good to have both doing the same time frame routines at the same time, just as happens in real life. It is kind of like playing house at times but you will learn a great deal about yourselves and your needs in doing so.

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I'll third Stanley and Kirk's comments on fireplaces. While they do seem to appeal to some, they are very much "eye candy" as far as functionality goes. They put out exactly the same amount of heat as a 1500 watt ceramic cube heater that takes up a tiny percentage of the volume. If you are going to full-time you should concentrate on issues like storage space, carrying capacity, functionality while on the road (can you easily access the bathroom and fridge) and functionality while camping.

 

Mark

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Another no fireplace. We prefer keeping the cabinet space. You can get one or two little quartz heaters that take up less then 1/10 of the room of a built in and provides the same 1500 Watts of heat as you get from a fireplace, plus you can easily move the small heaters to any location you want.

 

Last RV we bought had the built in fire place. It was yanked out and cabinet doors and a shelf replaced the space waster.

 

Something that I think is a must have are heat pumps on the A/C units.

 

Ken

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We had a fireplace in our last motorhome, and I now wish that we had one in our new motorhome. When it is a little chilly, the ambiance of the fireplace, with the fireplace heater, makes for a cozy little motorhome.

 

In my opinion, go drive the Bounder. They have a loyal following. Try finding the Bounder's Owners group. That is where you will get the info that you need.

 

Have fun.

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Where can I go to find motorhomes from 2005 to current that have fireplaces. I really like that feature because it looks more homey to me. Do I just keep googling and looking or is there a website where I can put in options desired and they list a variety of models? Later on I may have to eliminate it but before I do I want to know what is available.

 

 

 

I believe if you use the RV Trader you can put in keywords for the features you want. You can also search the entire US with their site.

When your looking at either motorhomes or trailers be aware of the "Cargo Carrying Capacity". Your going to want a good amount of carrying capacity if your fulltiming. We carry approx. 4000 lbs. worth of stuff with us, about 1000 lbs. being motorcycle related.

 

Good Luck,

Steve

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Agree with Roger, give that Bounder a try. The newer models are more high end than said and when compared with the competitors (speaking in gas burner category) are stacking up as on par to better. Also, don't rule out diesel, there are some real bargains if you do the research and know the models.

 

You can either get the depreciation or get the dead body smell, choose wisely and if used ALWAYS demand the service records - missing or thorough will tell you alot.

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I look at things differently so here's what I see relating only to the floor plan. The only person directly facing the TV is sitting in the corner of the sofa with feet on the floor. Any other seat will likely give you a crick in the neck. The large pantry is a real bonus but you might have to put pull-put shelves in it to make it usable. The kitchen layout is one I like because there is actually counter space you can use between the stove and sink. I would always being trying to lay my spatula down on the wrong side of the stove, though. We've owned several RVs and the dining option we've liked best was the table with credenza because we could move our computers to the credenza during meals them move them back again. I'm guessing the sideways part of the sofa is one that pulls out for sitting but pushes in for traveling; we've not owned one of those but that should let you get to the main facilities while traveling. The angle of the toilet is good for tall people who need extra leg room. It looks like you will have access to one of the wardrobes when traveling; put your coats in that one. If you go for the fireplace it will probably be installed under the TV; be sure it does not intrude into the bathroom as that toilet space is already fairly narrow.

 

Other than that, the thing I usually recommend before deciding to buy is to spend a lot of time in the rig. Sit in what you think will be "your" seat and read manuals to see how long it stays comfortable. Kick off your shoes and take a 10 minute nap on the bed. While you have your shoes off, stand in the shower and pretend to wash both your hair and your feet--what bumps? Sit on the toilet; we've already seen my Dave would have leg room but would I have enough width? Stand in front of the microwave and pretend to take something hot out of it; did you just pour it all over yourself because the microwave is too high for you? I also mentally put stuff into cupboards, when I find myself filling the same cupboard for a third time I rethink what storage is where and will that really work for me? We wound up storing dry foods above the couch because our small pantry was already full of cans and bottles and the kitchen overhead was full of dishes, mixing bowls and measuring cups.

 

Once you play all those games, you will have a sense of whether or not this rig is one you can live in. Oh, and do make your spouse play some of those games, too because you will also want to know what happens when you are both inside the rig.

 

Linda Sand

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I would add to make sure you open all the underneath storage compartments, with and without the slides open. Pretend you are hooking and unhooking your sewer hose. Can you reach it easily? And where is the water pump and filter? Do you have to halfway crawl into a storage compartment to change the filter as I do???

 

I don't know how short or tall you are, but make sure you can reach the light switches if they are on the ceiling. I can just barely reach mine if I stand on my toes. My shower is fine for me but a heavier or very tall person would not be able to get in or out of the narrow door without hitting his or her head. Is there a place to store dirty clothes? (I hide mine on the opposite side of the bed where no one ever goes, but I knew one person who chose a 5th wheel because of the laundry chute down to a storage compartment.)

 

Also, make sure BOTH of you can reach the pedals and drive the motorhome. (I would need pedal extenders for most Class As. )

 

All of this is very individual, but it makes a difference when you travel. I would love a power driver's seat and am very tired of having to stick my head into the sewer hookup compartment!

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Solo, I am short only 5'1" and I normally can't reach the floor with my feet flat even on a couch so I better see about the pedals as you suggested. And I saw a video that the under storage slides out with the room. So we wouldn't have to go underneath. Better design now because people like you shared their concerns.

 

Thank you for your information

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I currently have a 2011 Fleetwood storm which is an entry level coach and I've decided to upgrade to a diesel for full time use. The entry level model looks great new, but the furniture and walls wear out quickly. The wooden furniture in mine has a very thin veneer and has been scuffed away during the last three years of part-time use.

 

The walls have started bubbling under the wallpaper. Frankly, every single component in my MH is very cheap and entry level. As a result, I would not recommend an entry level Fleetwood Gasser as a full time coach.

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We bought a 1988 Fleetwood 32' Southwind 5 years ago to see if we liked the RV world. The RV only has 61K miles and it was gas. Over the 4 years we owned it we but on 21K miles traveling with our grandkids from Florida to Upstate NY a few times, among other trips. We found that the only other things we would like in our newer RV was slides and a bigger bathroom. We ended up purchasing a 2003 Gulf Stream 39' DP about a year ago. We went to quite a few RV shows and walked through every type of RV imaginable and looked at the floor plans. As mentioned already quite a few newer RV's have a bad TV placement, no pantry, only 2 burner stove, and no oven. I'm not sure you will find a first RV that you would own forever. You may also look at private rentals of different models you may be interested in before deciding what brand to buy. Since you are not in a rush where you have to buy right now, we would like to recommend you take your time and shop and shop and shop. Eventually the right RV will come around for the right price.

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