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Looking for a guide to help narrow my RV search..


Altonymous

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Are there any guides online that help you narrow your RV search? In particular I'm looking for something that will point me towards models that definitely meet criteria that are must-haves.

 

Such as:

 

  • 35+ Class A or Super C
  • 10k+ lbs towing capacity
  • Space for 6 people without using fold-out couches and dining areas (Dynamax has one that has a bed room, bunk beds, and cab over queen bed, that's ideal, alternatively a toy hauler I could retrofit to have bunk beds would be 2nd option; such as the Outlaw, unfortunately it only tows up to 5k lbs)

That's it for the must haves for us.

 

We've been searching and sometimes we find the floor plan + sleeping capacity but not the towing capacity, then we find the opposite. We don't find many that overlap and when we do they are generally not available for sale anywhere.. such as the old Fun Mover.

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That Dynamax is one of the more livable arrangements I've seen. I have two questions about it. Where would you put car seats for your two younger kids? (I think they are still small enough to require that.) And can you use the bathroom with the bunkhouse slide closed? If those answers work it looks to me like you've found a good one. I love all those drawers in the bedroom since each of you can have a drawer without even using all of them.

 

Linda Sand

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That Dynamax is one of the more livable arrangements I've seen. I have two questions about it. Where would you put car seats for your two younger kids? (I think they are still small enough to require that.) And can you use the bathroom with the bunkhouse slide closed? If those answers work it looks to me like you've found a good one. I love all those drawers in the bedroom since each of you can have a drawer without even using all of them.

 

Linda Sand

 

Linda,

 

We've recently found the Palazzo 33.3 and 36.2 (We'd retrofit bunks over the washer and dryer for the youngest two kids.) that we REALLY like. To answer your questions specifically... The youngest is still in a car seat. The 3rd is in a booster. You bring up a good point about car seats. We aren't sure on the legalities of where we can install them. We'll have to do some research on that. Also very good observation on the bunkhouse slide blocking access to the toilet. It does indeed look like it would block most of the access, it might allow us to fit but it would be super snug. That would certainly cramp our boon docking plans!

 

I'm liking the Palazzo models even more now! It wouldn't be perfect on the 36.2 with the slide in, but it does look like we could still access the bathroom. On the 33.3 doesn't look like an issue at all.

 

Time to research car seats!

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Those are very specific needs, especially the not using the traditional dinette and fold out couch for some of the gang:)! (Understand this, as some will go to be early, and get up earlier, and having these spaces still available is a plus.)

 

I'm not familiar with the units that have been mentioned. But I thought of two different 'groups' we have run into in the last few years.

 

One was 7 adults (Multi Generation family.) in a 40+' (Know it was not 45', and it was over 40'. Think it was 42'?) former tour bus. Used for a while by a Country Western Band. They had sleeping for 8 people, and seating for 8 too. It was a non slide, and they admitted they would have liked a slide but could not justify the costs. The plus, that they said was a difference maker for that many people in a coach, was the larger water/grey/black tanks. They were not full timers, but they would go out for trips of several months at a time. (This was and older unit, but well cared for when they found it, and was serving them well.)

 

The second was a family of 9, they had an older one slide Monaco Signature with one slide, 40'. This had a bigger block engine, I think a M11 - but it may have been a ISM. (Pretty sure it was the M11, as I think this was a 96-98 year coach.) They towed a nicely converted cargo hauler, where some of the older kids slept and also hung out. The father said that after about 6 months of using it, with the kids coming in during the night to use the restroom, which would wake up people in both sleeping areas, that they added a portable toilette. (He said the 'who dumps the throne' chore became quite a battle, until they finally just laid out a schedule where all of the older kids that slept in the cargo hauler took turns:)!. And, he spliced in a cable feed and added a DVD player and stereo to the hauler for them. It was really laid out very nice. (He said that they had been turned away from a few RV Parks, but it was never really a problem.) They were full timers, and they had self schooling for the younger children, with the older children participating. And the older children were now doing online classes a online university. I think the oldest girl had just turned 19.

 

In both cases, they spent lots of time outside, and lots of BBQ cooking too:)!

 

May not be anything our interested in, but it was neat to see, and both were really nice people to talk with.

 

Best of luck on your hunt!

Smitty

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We just spoke with an RV person at a place near us... He told us all the vehicles we were looking at wouldn't tow 10k lbs.. It was just misleading because they had 10k lbs. hitches. He said we are pretty much out of luck. So we feel like we are back at square one and no idea what to do.

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So we've gone back around to each of the coaches we were originally looking at after figuring out where we went wrong in how to calculate tow capacity... Now we have it narrowed down to a few coaches. We love one for the floor plan and the others for the rest... The 3 we are looking at are...



2015 Thor Outlaw 37MD


- Positives: Floor plan, towing capacity, dealership we like most


- Negatives: Loud, sluggish, 1 seat belt in the rear splitting us up when we travel.


2015 Fleetwood Excursion 35E


- Positives: DP, Quiet, seating configuration, residential fridge


- Negatives: Towing capacity, floor plan not as flexible as Outlaw, but still very nice.


2014 Forest River SR300 340BH


- Positives: DP, Quiet, seating configuration, residential fridge, dealership we like most


- Negatives: Towing capacity, floor plan not as flexible as Outlaw, but still very nice.



So here's our rub.. none of them meet the 10k lb criteria.. but I just ball parked a number and rounded up when we first made the list.. so we wouldn't have to worry about it. Now that we know it seriously limits our options I've done a little more work on figuring out what we need and it will be somewhere between 5k & 7.5k lbs. All of these start with 5k lbs. If we keep our load light we can tow more and possibly make our limits. I'm still trying to figure out the UVW for the Forest River but the other two will give us over 6k lbs at least. The Outlaw giving us over 7.5k.



So most of the time we won't be driving down the road... and all the negatives we see for the Outlaw are during travel time. But my concern is overtime I will dread driving and thus cause me to avoid it and we'll be likely to stay stationary longer than we want. Also I worry about the longevity of putting that drivetrain under that much pressure of towing ~7.5k lbs... It seems sluggish and revs really high into the RPMs empty.. I can't imagine loaded up to capacity. On the other hand we don't have as much weight flexibility to tow much with the DPs but for some reason I just trust them more to get the job done.



Any advice, thoughts, feedback?


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I have one idea that may not have occurred to you.

 

If you plan to keep your daily travel distances relatively low (say under four hours), have you considered not towing?

 

We are getting ready to full time and our plan is a 5er. We've met several people recently who are towing a 5er and have a second vehicle along that that their spouse/partner is driving separately. We're now considering doing the same.

 

If you did something similar with your MH, you would have a lot more choices. I know, more choices might not be helpful at this point! But given that this issue seems to be your sticking point, I thought it might give you another possible scenario to consider.

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We discussed it but I really don't want to separate the family during the moving days. I know it might seem silly to most but to me it's important I have my whole cd there for support with the kids and to enjoy the drive with me. There,s something about seeing the woman you love with her feet on the dash and the beautiful countryside surrounding you.

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We discussed it but I really don't want to separate the family during the moving days. I know it might seem silly to most but to me it's important I have my whole cd there for support with the kids and to enjoy the drive with me. There,s something about seeing the woman you love with her feet on the dash and the beautiful countryside surrounding you.

I hear you. The ability to make quick comments on what I see was one of the things I missed most when Dave stopped traveling.

 

Linda Sand

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We found the Thor Chateau/Four Winds. It meets or exceeds all of our requirements so it's on the list. It's just soooo small. Finding a comfortable working space might be difficult for me. (I'm a programmer, so I spend a lot of time at a computer.)

 

We also found the Sportscoach Cross Country.. if they offered the option of the Salon Bunk in the Bunkhouse model that would be pretty sweet. It's really unfortunate they don't offer that. So right now I'm trying to research to figure out if I can add it myself after the fact to different models. If I can figure out a way to add a Salon Bunk to some other coaches that would open up a lot more options for us.

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In looking at some of your selections I started wondering where you will work. At the dinette with kids all around you? In the bedroom behind the only door you can close without hiding in the bathroom? How susceptible are you to interruptions? Even the rigs that are starting to be built with desks often have it in the same space as the TV so you can't sit your kids down in front of something entertaining/educational while you work in bad weather. Ah, the challenges of having a family. :)

 

Linda Sand

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In looking at some of your selections I started wondering where you will work. At the dinette with kids all around you? In the bedroom behind the only door you can close without hiding in the bathroom? How susceptible are you to interruptions? Even the rigs that are starting to be built with desks often have it in the same space as the TV so you can't sit your kids down in front of something entertaining/educational while you work in bad weather. Ah, the challenges of having a family. :)

 

Linda Sand

 

Surroundings while working isn't really a concern for me so much as a comfortable working space. I work in the middle of them all now. It will be no different. :P I wear headphones listening to music most of the time when I need to focus.. and if there's a voice conference I have to attend, which is rare, they are pretty good about staying quiet while that's going on.

 

So truly not worried about that so much as a comfortable spot to squat.

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Surroundings while working isn't really a concern for me so much as a comfortable working space. I work in the middle of them all now. It will be no different. :P I wear headphones listening to music most of the time when I need to focus.. and if there's a voice conference I have to attend, which is rare, they are pretty good about staying quiet while that's going on.

 

So truly not worried about that so much as a comfortable spot to squat.

That's why I put a small desktop with a real office chair in my van. I sat in it for hours every day. Still do that in the apartment. It is good to find a chair that works for you. I hope you are able to do that.

 

Linda Sand

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Me too!

 

Here's the current top 2 candidates... Would love to get some more feedback. Your help has been so invaluable already. We are trying to keep accounting for everything we are learning, but sometimes it's difficult.

 

2014-16 Winnebago Forza 38R

 

&

 

2014-16 Forest River Legacy SR 300 or SR 340 - Bunkhouse

 

 

The links I included with the name are just examples to give an idea. Would love your feedback!

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Those are both Class A's that do not have a cab over loft bed--just cabinets there. They only sleep two of your kids without converting either the sofa or dinette.

 

Linda Sand

 

Yeah we are aware. We feel like we are just going in circles. We can't afford to get everything on our list so we are trying to find different floor plans we can live with until we can retrofit it.

 

So for instance on the Forza the bunk beds can be yanked and 3 beds put in it's place. The TV/Fireplace can be pulled and an adjustable desk can be put in it's place. We figure we can let our little one sleep under the desk on a small mattress we can flip up when I'm using the desk. Or she can sleep on the sofa without the need to flip out the bed.

 

We have to think outside the box, because nothing meets our criteria. Absolute nothing.

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We have to think outside the box, because nothing meets our criteria. Absolute nothing.

Ah. Now you are learning the realities of RVing.

 

What are you thinking about doing regarding that 10K pound towing capability you are not going to get? You haven't told us why you wanted it so we have no way to speculate on what you might do instead. Were you hoping to tow a Class B for overflow space? :)

 

Linda Sand

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Ah. Now you are learning the realities of RVing.

 

What are you thinking about doing regarding that 10K pound towing capability you are not going to get? You haven't told us why you wanted it so we have no way to speculate on what you might do instead. Were you hoping to tow a Class B for overflow space? :)

 

Linda Sand

 

 

I've got a 6k lb Jeep.. currently don't have a trailer, but figuring on the trailer being around 3.5k lbs loaded with tools.

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Well it all depends on how they are doing it. If they have a 5k lb towing capacity and they flat tow a "stock" Jeep they'll have no problems. If however, they build their Jeep for rock crawling like mine will be.. the waits going to go up. Stock Jeep starts at around 4k lbs.. drop 1 ton axles, new steering, bumpers, etc.. you'll end up at 6k lbs. If i wanted to I could get away with flat towing 6k lbs on an RV with a 5k lb towing capacity if we made sure to reserve 1k lbs of cargo capacity and upgraded the hitch to account for more than 5k lbs.

 

We've discussed flat towing, I'd rather not put the hwy miles on the Jeep and tires but it's an option. (Well I'm willing to make it an option, wife isn't yet.) So if I were to trailer it then we're talking about either an open or closed trailer.. they have slightly different weights for them. If I'm going to get a trailer I'd rather add 1k lbs and get an enclosed one that I can store other things in, such as tools, etc.. not to mention it would be a place where I can work on the Jeep our of the elements when I inevitably break something rock crawling.

 

So stock Jeep flat towed, no problem.

 

Built Jeep flat towed, minor inconvenience.

 

Built Jeep trailer towed, royal pita.

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So stock Jeep flat towed, no problem.

 

Built Jeep flat towed, minor inconvenience.

 

Built Jeep trailer towed, royal pita.

 

OK. That all makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

 

Is that Jeep what you will use for family sight seeing events and errand running as well? Will it have enough seats for the whole family?

 

Linda Sand

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