Jump to content

Torn between Class A 33ft and 39ft


Laara

Recommended Posts

We are not exactly beginners but somewhat. We hope to hear from experienced travelers what they have to say about our dilemma. Thank you in advance!

 

We just sold our Dynamax ISATA, 26ft class B+. Last summer we spent 4 months in it and loved it! Now we want to travel more (eventually to live in it) and looking for a bigger motorhome, class A. We are completely torn and cannot decide what to go with:

 

1) 39,5ft Newmar Canyon Star 3920 with garage, which is really appealing to have as we have one big scooter and 2 bicycles. Last trip they were out in the open - dirt and bugs, and rust...

 

OR

 

2) 33,5ft Tiffin 31SA with really nice floor plan but residential fridge (with 4 batteries, not enough for boondocking, and we are not wanting to spend thousands on solar setup, as of yet). Scooter and bicycles will go just like last time - scooter in the back, bicycles in front.

 

The reason we are torn is because we like National Parks (we want to visit them all) and heard a lot about how big rigs do not fit there or limited sites for these long rigs. Last summer we visited only 2 - Shenandoah and Greenbelt in Wash. DC - and we think we would not have problems in those parks in 39,5ft.

 

We also like boondocking, that's why actually we want a bigger motorhome - for bigger tanks mostly.

 

What to do? We are at the point when we cannot make a decision and even have a thought to giving up the whole idea and just go by car and spend nights in motels. But how long will we last?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We like the floorplan of the shorter motorhome but garage in bigger. Our biggest problem is if we are going to run into troubles trying to use National parks and narrower and woody roads leading to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There will be somewhat more challenges getting into places with the longer RV, but keep in mind that the 33.5" coach is lengthened by the scooter on the back and bikes on the front so the actual difference is really not nearly as great as it might first appear. With a difference in length of 6' I'd bet that more than half of that difference is offset by the added length of them hanging on the outside. While there may be a few places that you could get in the 33.5' with stuff on the outside that you can't with the 39.5' with everything inside, there won't be many of them as the actual length difference is not very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk, you are right! We thought about it few weeks ago and that is precisely the reason we even considered the toy-hauler. But then all this got forgotten, as we were going back and forth between so many motorhomes that we were thinking about.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are some thoughts

1. Living fulltime in your RV is, I believe, a whole different ball of wax than traveling even for extended periods. You have everything with you requiring some more storage and equipment ( for me washer/ dryer was a deal breaker).

As for parks. We started out being concerned, and bought into that theory, as well. In truth we have discovered that in many spots its not all about the length, its just as much about number and placement of opposing slides. Our 33ft 5th wheel had 3slides, 2 opposing , and on occasion that was a pain as opposed to our MH with just 1

 

Yes some roads can be tight. But we don't define staying in a park as a requirement to visit.

As for Greenbelt ( we stay at least once a year) you will have about 6 sites you fit on with that larger rig. There are a couple others that are just the pull off type which would maybe work but you won't enjoy them as much. (if it's for summer be sure and make a reservation, the secret is out and it's getting more popular)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laara, on 08 May 2016 - 6:45 PM, said:

 

 

2) 33,5ft Tiffin 31SA with really nice floor plan but residential fridge (with 4 batteries, not enough for boondocking, and we are not wanting to spend thousands on solar setup, as of yet). Scooter and bicycles will go just like last time - scooter in the back, bicycles in front.

 

 

Are you looking at buying new or used?

 

If new, perhaps you can order this without the residential fridge?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, thank you so much for all the answers!

 

Linda, we are buying used. TIffin 31SA is 2014, Newmar w/garage is 2012. Not many of those available for a reasonable price and in good condition, especially the first one: CCC is problem for those, that's why optional 24K lb chassis in the one we found (w/residential fridge) beats standard 22K lb chassis. Only 2 Newmars we found that are in our budget - 100K. We are leaning towards Newmar, funny part the one we like is 2K miles from us (need to figure out logistics).

Barbara, we are mostly going to travel in the west, but at some point will go to the east.

 

Nana25k, thank you for saying about opposing slides, never thought about it ,motorhome we had had only one slide. Greenbelt is really nice, we were there last August and it was practically empty. I was wondering why it is empty...

 

Jim, you are right! My goodness it is a compromise!

 

The thing about residential fridge is in the last two days I've read so many horror stories about how Norcold fridges cause fire and all motorhomes we look at have Norcold. We think, residential fridge is going to be a hassle for us if not to get big solar setup, running generator even 4 hours a day is not an option - where will be those quiet moments in the nature then? Compromise it is. Again.

 

So, such thoughts...

 

Thank you, everyone, you are kind people! If you think of something else, we would appreciate your input.

 

Tanya

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I know, but the models we are looking at come with Norcolds only. So, as Jim said, compromises!

I have had several Norcold refrigerators and actually have one in our current RV. But there is a very simple way to protect it and yourself with the addition of the ARPrv refrigerator protective device, which really does work. They are not very difficult to install and no warranty is impacted with proper installation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Kirk!

 

I think we saw this device at Good Sam rally in Phoenix last year. For some reason people who are talking about solutions, never mentioned it, but they are talking a lot about some Amish cooling system to replace existing one ($665-$1000), because that one has thicker pipes of cooling unit, which actually does not help much (as a conclusion of conversation). I guess you have to have both: ARP and Amish. We had Norcold fridge in our motorhome and turned it off every time we went through mountains and steep uphill/downhill, for the piece of mind. My worry is that since we are buying used motorhome the damage (corrosion in the pipes of a cooling unit) could have been already done and could be waiting for a chance blow up.

 

Well, I have no idea about anything I am saying. That is all I know and not much of it could be accurate:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thoughts on this. There is no way I would limit myself to a short motorhome simply because of National Parks. We have a 40 foot DP and would not go any shorter...we like the living space. If we were going to visit a national park and couldnt fit ! I would find a place nearby to boondock and visit the park in my toad. As stated everything is a compromise but for fulltiming I would not compromise on living space for a national park.

A short motorhome such as anything shorter than 36 feet is going to give you a choppy ride. Also the shorter wheelbase motorhomes are more difficult to handle on hiways.

 

Also there are plenty more makes other than Newmar and Tiffin. We have an American Eagle and have found it to a superior coach to many other makes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You won't fit in all parks with the 39' but you will fit in a lot of them. We had a 40' Newmar and we easily fit in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and more. For our 16 years of full-time travel our first choice was always public parks so we used national, state, Corp of Engineers, national forest campground, county and city parks. Honestly, we were never turned away from our choice because we couldn't fit. Of course, we did our research first. I might add that we rarely made reservations even for the popular national parks. There are some campgrounds in those parks that don't even accept reservations. We have stayed in every Arizona state park.

 

We full-timed 8 years in a 33' 5th wheel with two slides. When we bought our 40' motorhome we purposely sought out one with two slides on the same side - one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Parking in wooded campgrounds makes it a lot easier to maneuver between trees with both slides on the same side. The two slides were plenty for us.

 

We have friends with a toy hauler and when their motorcycle is unloaded they roll out a carpet, hang a drape on the rear ugly door, and they have a comfortable den with two small recliners and a desk.

 

Good luck with your choice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2gypsies, thank you for sharing your thoughts. All makes sense.

 

I understand your point, Jim, about DP, size, engine type, brand... Yes, we thought about older Country Coach, American Eagle, others. But for now we decided to not even play with the idea of DP as we are on a tight budget. My husband is confident about taking care of gasser as much as possible by himself but diesel is a different story, plus we did not find diesel with garage (we like the garage idea so much!). There is Newmar Allstar with garage and diesel mid-engine but the floorplan with garaged back entry for motorcycles is hardly ever available - not seen even once in last few months but did not check often also. One is available right now with side entry garage door, but it is $20K more than our budget. Plus it is diesel engine :( As for shorter motorhome, we think couple stabilizers will help improving the ride. Oh, well... We will see how it all turns out :) Thank you very much!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess you have to have both: ARP and Amish. We had Norcold fridge in our motorhome and turned it off every time we went through mountains and steep uphill/downhill, for the piece of mind. My worry is that since we are buying used motorhome the damage (corrosion in the pipes of a cooling unit) could have been already done and could be waiting for a chance blow up

You don't really need both, unless you happen to have to replace the cooling unit. There are several high quality replacement cooling units and the so called Amish units are only one of them. There are also several of the replacement units that come with the ARPrv device already installed. I'd not be too concerned about one blowing up, as I have yet to hear of that one but they do develop a leak and can catch fire when that happens. Even the 2012 unit should be in pretty good condition as it is unusual for one to fail so soon. Since over heating is most of the problem, the ARPrv device prevents that and should prevent any fire situation, even if it were to develop a leak since that causes a sudden increase in the temperature and the ARPrv then removes power to the refrigerator. I added one to ours after 3 years of use and am quite comfortable with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We like CoE parks, and stay in them whenever possible. Our 40' DP hasn't had a problem so far. Yes, in one older park I had to maneuver a bit because the turnaround was pretty small, but we had anticipated that and unhooked the Jeep well before we got to that point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...