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Motorcop35

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I have been researching class A RV s for full time rving.  From what i read on a rv consumer group it says that most RV's are not safe or meant for full time rving. This is one source and I was curious if anyone was full timing with some of the ones they don't recommend.  Some of he rvs mentioned not meant for full time rving I have seen a lot of.  Winnebago, Fleetwood, Coachman,  forest river.  Brands like Tiffin, Newmar, Monaco, American coach were given good reviews however not all models. There were also issues with how each vehicle drove and some tended to wander and cause alot of fatigue on the driver. Any input would be appreciated.  

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

As a former member of the RV Consumer Group, I am a little bit puzzled by your question. When I was active in the group they did rate various RVs for quality and safety based on the purpose group that each falls into, but they didn't recommend any brand or model. I can tell you that many of us have owned and even lived in some of the brands that you mention. The particular brand that we lived in fulltime (Georgie Boy) is no longer in business but if I were to buy a new motorhome today, I would look first at Tiffin, Newmar, and Winnebago. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

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Thank you Kirk. What they did do was  give each RV a specific number of stars and a safety rating.  There was a rating for reliability, value and Highway control score. I did like Winnebago but not one of them was recommended for for time rving.  Thank you again Kirk for your input. 

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RV Consumer Group's fulltime rating is only for RVs that you could live in northern winters and southern summers.  Most fulltimers do just fine with RVs rated snowbird since we are south in the winter and north in the summer.

2004 40' Newmar Dutch Star DP towing an AWD 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, Fulltimer July 2003 to October 2018, Parttimer now.
Travels through much of 2013 - http://www.sacnoth.com - Bill, Diane and Evita (the cat)
 

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13 minutes ago, Motorcop35 said:

Thanks Bill.   Bill I see you have a 2004 Newmar dutch star have had any issues with driving a 40 foot RV finding places to boondock or being restricted from alot of campgrounds and state parks?

If it is really important to be able to camp about anywhere, then you need to be 33' (real length) or less, even under 25' in some public campgrounds.  At 40' we find ourselves in the same campgrounds as our previous 35' motorhome.  There are places we are too long, so we have to do some planning.   We do not boondock that often anymore and only stay at public campgrounds a few weeks a year.  

2004 40' Newmar Dutch Star DP towing an AWD 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, Fulltimer July 2003 to October 2018, Parttimer now.
Travels through much of 2013 - http://www.sacnoth.com - Bill, Diane and Evita (the cat)
 

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If you go to any Escapees CO-OP park you'll see just about every brand of RV made, and most stay put thru summer and winter months. So I wouldn't be to concerned with what Consumer Reports had to say about what we {RV's) fulltime in. Not everyone can afford a Newmar Dutch Star home. But then again there in an 40' American Eagle parked in the site next to mine. And  on the other side of the , what we full-time in, theirs people full-timings in 17' Casita trailers.

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The RV Consumer Group's ratings are helpful to know but need to be treated as a guide rather than a limit. People full time in every type of rig out there including tent campers. It's all what YOU are willing to live with. Life itself is a compromise.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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RV Consumers doesn't look at or test RVs.  They get their information from brochures of the manufacturers.

As to your question about a 40' motorhome. . . we used public parks or boondocked on public lands 95% of our 16 years of full-timing.  We didn't have any issue finding places to stay, including in many national parks such as Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Grand Canyon, etc.  I will say that we concentrated mainly in the Midwest and West.

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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55 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

RV Consumers doesn't look at or test RVs.  They get their information from brochures of the manufacturers.

 Are you a member and a part of the test staff? Where does your information come from?

If you mean that they don't buy one of each brand & model of RV and take it on the road, that is true and no evaluating organization does that because of what it would cost to do so. But they have done extensive research on what is needed and some things like wheelbase ratios and geometric design can easily be determined from the vehicle specifications. They do make factory visits and do a lot of very valid research and they do many customer surveys. I was previously involved in the organization and have been a part of that research. While the information that they publish isn't absolute, it is more accurate than any rating service for RVs that I have any knowledge of. Clearly, a rating of something less than perfect does not mean that nobody will be happy with that RV but it does give some idea of what could be expected. 

Most people who have never been members do not understand the ratings that they give. Nowhere in the RVCG literature does it state that you must have one of the RVs in their "fulltime" rating to live in. What they do say is that the fulltime classification will stand up to constant use the best, those rated as snowbird will do nearly as well, and vacation rated RVs will show wear and tear much more quickly when under constant use. The classifications were never intended to define the only acceptable manner of use but only to group the various models into groups that can be compared in similar cost/quality groups. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

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I think the bottom line here is that any RV can be used for full time living if it meets the needs of the owner for that urpose. I had a dear friend that fulltimed with a mini-van and a teardrop for about 20 years, only upgrading from time to time to a new van and teardrop every 6-7 years or so. In her case, it was never about the money since she always paid cash for both, and when she left the road for health reasons at 79, she paid cash for a very nice house for her and her daughter that came to live with her. Like Kirk, we also fulltime in a Georgie Boy Class A, and we're quite comfortable following the weather as the seasons change.

Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F-53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/brake system

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There are very few RV manufacturers that are going to state that their products are approved for "full time living".  There would be customers who would purchase them, park them up north and think they can be used as permanent residences in 30 below extended temps.  

There are a lot of "experts" out there publishing all kinds of articles and studies.  When we were looking for our first RV I read many of those experts opinions but didn't really follow many of them.  I found at best they were a general guide.

I can tell you that when it comes to drivability size can matter.  At 43' with a tag axle I can easily drive 600+ miles in a day without getting tired.  As far as limiting what camping sites we can get into you just have to plan a little.  We are currently in a state park preserve for 2 weeks.  

Joe & Cindy

Newmar 4369 Ventana

Pulling 24' enclosed (Mini Cooper, Harley, 2 Kayaks)

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3 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

At 43' with a tag axle I can easily drive 600+ miles in a day without getting tired.

I wouldn't want to drive anything 600+ miles in one day and it would make me very tired. Yet I have known people who drove gas chassis motorhomes that much and more. It is a very subjective thing to say how far any RV can be driven in one day as it depends on who is doing the driving. 

4 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

There are a lot of "experts" out there publishing all kinds of articles and studies. 

 

😊

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

I wouldn't want to drive anything 600+ miles in one day and it would make me very tired. Yet I have known people who drove gas chassis motorhomes that much and more. It is a very subjective thing to say how far any RV can be driven in one day as it depends on who is doing the driving. 

 

😊

Okay, well let me rephrase and be more clear.  In the past few years I have owned a 37' gas coach (2014) with suspension modifications and now my present coach.  Based on miles driven by the same driver (me) I can tell you that 350 to 400 miles in a day driving the gas coach beat me up!  Driving twice that far in my current coach is less tiring than driving my car.  

I'm not basing this on articles I have read.  I am basing this on real life recent experience.  

Now I do agree is probably isn't good to drive 600+ miles on a regular basis.  However there has been two different occasions, one being a family medical emergency, that I needed to.

The OP mentioned different brands and the fact he was concerned about "driver fatigue".  Unless you have driven a late model tag axle DP recently and also have experience putting miles on a gas F-53 chassis then it would be hard to appreciate the huge difference between the two.   

Joe & Cindy

Newmar 4369 Ventana

Pulling 24' enclosed (Mini Cooper, Harley, 2 Kayaks)

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19 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

I'm not basing this on articles I have read.  I am basing this on real life recent experience.  

I would definitely agree that there is no ride for a motorhome like the air ride of a good diesel. My only thought was the 600 mile thing. I have always wondered why nobody has ever put air ride on a gas chassis. There is probably a good reason, but I'm not mechanic enough to know what it may be.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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OP - I'm not a testing member of the group you referenced. But I do sincerely believe that quality of the construction, choice of materials, counters, flooring, fixtures, dual pane vs single pane, insulation, etc., etc., etc. - Does lean towards a higher quality, future up the food chain, RV/Trailer/Fiver/Class C/Class B, etc. - RV, would yield a better overall experience for long term full timing. 

An example. We had a 1999 Fleetwood T-28 Bounder, on a F53 chassis. It kept us dry, it took us to some remarkable places, it was small enough to get to most places. It was not, after about $3-4K of suspension upgrades - a comfortable long day driver. (We did, when needed, 11 hours + of driving in that coach. But admit, after 7-8 hours, including breaks, we were tired and sore form the ride. Inside living was OK for short periods of time, and yep - we were younger then too! But after about 2-3 weeks, that RV got small, the combo shower and restroom sharing even among just the two of us - got old. The RV, with regular care and loving maintenance never left us stranded. But, we nick named her 'Rattle and Roo (Bounder mascot is a Kangaroo:)!)' for a reason. (We bought her with about 50K miles on her, and sold her with 87K on her.) She was not good in cold weather. She was not good in hot weather. Her tanks were small. He amenities and refrigerator were small - and yep, we still remember her fondly - but, she was not a great coach for full timing. 

We do like our current coach, and do feel we have adequate space, carrying capacity, hot/cold weather capabilities, tanks are fine, much (Much!) better construction, components, materials, livability space, etc. 

Our coach is not at the top of the pecking order of high end coaches. But it is well built, with good materials and components. We choose it due to the KISS approach of easier and simpler systems - but still with we feel superior attention to detail in design, construction, and chassis that provides a very solid foundation. 

First determine budget, and leave reserve funds for making a coach your coach, as well as the unexpected:)! Go kick many tires, sit in many coaches, and get a list of Must Have's and Nice to Have's. Get down to a short list of makes/models/years that you feel fit your lists of key items, and relative budget. 

I'm personally in favor for full timing in an RV, with DP's, with higher CCC, and space. BUT I've seen some very good quality Gas Class A's too. Yes, the chassis of either Workhorse or old GM, or Ford F53's - will usually never come close to a DP chassis. But, if our expected usage is to go to a location and stay for a few months at a time - gasser vs DP is not as important - as long as it is a good but gas Class A (And the do exist!!!)

That being said. Don't be afraid to drop years to remain within budget, and buy the highest quality RV that you can. Quality lasts. And higher quality, usually comes in a DP:)!

Get your list of what you feel is the one's you're interested in. Then go do your shopping. 

And most important. Stay true to what is important to you. It does not really matter what I, or other posters think - it's going to be you living, driving, maintaining - whatever you end up buying and living with. So it's what's important to you. 

That's just mu opinion, and as I say - my opinion does not matter - it's your opinion(s) that matters...

Best to you, and all,

Smitty

 

 

 

 

Be safe, have fun,

Smitty

04 CC Allure "RooII" - Our "E" ride for life!

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7 hours ago, Smitty77_7 said:

And most important. Stay true to what is important to you. It does not really matter what I, or other posters think - it's going to be you living, driving, maintaining - whatever you end up buying and living with. So it's what's important to you. 

That's just mu opinion, and as I say - my opinion does not matter - it's your opinion(s) that matters...

Very well put. We strongly agree.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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