If you like Greek food there is a little place right off of I-40 at the Biltmore exit. It's in a little strip shopping center on the South side of the interstate. I don't remember the name of the place but you go South away from the Biltmore community towards UNC Asheville and it's on the right about a mile from I-40. They have the best Greek salad dressing on planet earth. I have driven 3 hours just to get the grilled chicken Greek salad.
Biltmore is expensive for sure but, I've paid it and I've seen it and I didn't regret it. Biltmore has a vineyard and they make their own wines. They have a wine tasting that's part of the tour. I'm more of a beer guy but, Biltmore wines are very good.
While you're in the area take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville North up to say, Blowing Rock NC. It's a beautiful drive. One of the highlights of my year is taking a couple of days to ride the old electraglide to Tennessee. I exit I-40 on the way home and ride up the parkway to Boone and down 421 towards home.
Downtown Asheville is loaded with neat restaurants and shops. It's a good destination.
My sister's family has a 26 foot TT and they have towed it from coast to coast, over the Rockies, several times. They pull it with a diesel Dodge truck. They tell me that they think it's the best combination of roominess and towability along with getting it in pretty much every camp ground. They think that the overkill on the tow vehicle takes any stress out of towing as they barely feel that trailer back there.
Lou, my wife is a kidney transplant recipient. It's been over 11 years ago and she's doing well, all things considered. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Having an RV makes staying near family in a crises much easier for sure.
I get on my roof at least two times a year. I recovered it a couple of years ago (rubber roof) and I get up there with a tube of EPDM rubber once a year just to goo any places that look like they might need it. The biggest thing on a rubber roof is wear tennis shoes and don't twist your feet when you walk up there. To turn pick your feet up. It is possible to tear, separate, or otherwise damage the roof. If you're careful it's not likely.
I'm 6'2, 235 and it's no problem. I walk very gently and stay to the sides as much as possible.
If you're checking the condition of the roof look closely around the edges where the rubber is pulled over the sides. That's where cracks will form and water can seep in under the rubber and down the sides, inside of the walls. You gotta look close to find these types of cracks sometimes as you can't necessarily stand there and see them.
Also, depending on the construction method, check the rear corners rear good. It never hurts to put a little EPDM rubber caulk down on a spot that looks questionable. Just don't use anything else on a rubber roof. Unfortunately, EPDM caulk can't be found at Lowes, Home Depot, etc.. You'll have to get that at Camper World or similar place.
I see truckers texting all the time. I don't even talk on the phone when I'm driving the MH. I can't imagine trying to text. When I see that I give them all the room they want. I'm just trying to arrive alive.
I have a 1990 Mallard Sprinter 28 foot class A. We enjoy it. Our best thing is driving down to Myrtle Beach in the spring and fall. We were down there last year this time and stayed for most of the month. I wanted to stay on for another week but, DW had some appointments at home so, we came on home. When we're in the old Mallard I never want to come home.
In my book, ride comfort takes second row to braking power (if you're planning on going cross country.) Taking that logic one step further, then some form of a Jake brake will make life better which then leads me into the DP world.
Right now I have an older F53, did the things to put it back into OEM condition. Ride comfort is doable for cross country. Next step will either be a DP, or out of Class A's all together. Looking at the economics of it, very well could be the latter.
Good point. Our next RV might very well be a travel trailer or a fifth wheel.
I don't suggest a chassis. I don't know enough about specific years and makes to be qualified to answer that. If I were in your shoes I would find one that interested me and then do the research. From what I have seen the later 460s were just fine on the Ford Chassis and the people I know that have those in class A's say they make really good power. I have a 454 (7.4) that runs cool and has plenty of power. But, I know that some complain of engine heat issues. That may be due to the way air is ducted in the engine bay. I spend a day every other year flushing my radiator three times using off the shelf flush solution. It seems to make a difference on the P-30 chassis.
My electric fans quit working last year on one of the hottest days of the year due to a bad factory air switch. I never really noticed it as the engine never got much warmer than normal. I did have to have an exhaust leak fixed on the right manifold this year. It cost me $165.00 to have my mechanic fix it for me. I can do that even if it needs to be repaired again in a couple of years. There is no perfect.
So, there are no universal truths that apply to every year of a chassis. Some of the early Ford V-10s I would avoid like the plague as they had spark plug/head issues and EGR valve issues related to a gasket that would go at about 100,000 miles (the city I retired from had a fleet of these and every single one had the same exact issues at about the same mileage).
I would go for fuel injection. The carb versions are on the older motorhomes (typically). I would also want to know about service history. Check the transmission fluid. In my experience this is an area that often gets neglected so, if it looks like it's never been serviced then there's a clue, especially compared to mileage. I don't mind higher mileage as long as the RV has been serviced. There is no substitute for regular servicing. That's why I bought my motorhome that was a few years older than I wanted to go. The servicing was good, it had new floors, a new fridge, and the price was well under budget.
I had an old Chevrolet truck and all of my friends who had similar trucks lost their fuel pumps at about 100,000 miles. The one thing they all had in common was that they never changed the fuel filter. My truck had almost 200,000 miles on it and the original fuel pump was running strong becuase I replaced the 15 dollar fuel filter every few years. My mechanic said that the pump would out live me if it never had to cope with a clogged filter.
Point is, I'll take a motorhome with 100,000 miles on it that has been meticulously maintained over one with half those miles that has been neglected (BTW, mine had 42,000 when I bought it). I'm not one to say one brand is better than another. I have an older P-30 chassis (no airbags in the suspension). To be honest I wouldn't recomend it. It runs fine but, it can be a bear to drive. On a calm day at 70 mph it's just fine. On a windy day at 55 it can be a workout. But, for me, I like it. It's simple and I can fix it myself (unless I'm feeling lazy and my mechanic doesn't charge me too much). Same reason both my Harleys are Evolution engines. If I can make it home I can fix anything that might break (and they don't break very much).
In my view, you're in a fun place. You got cash burning a hole in your pocket looking for a motorhome. It's a great place to be. My advice is look at a motorhome including any expenditures you'll have to make to get it to the place you want it to be in when you hit the road, like a set of tires (around $1,200.00+- for 16 inch 10 plys, E rated, and the shop doesnt cross thread a stud) or roof recoat (I did mine myself for a tad over $300.00). There are some units that have a great reputation. Winnebago seems to have delivered quality for many years. I have a great friend with an Adventurer he loves it. Bounders have been around and seem like good RVs. There are a bunch of orphans out there, like mine, a Mallard Sprinter. That doesn't scare me off at all. The reason is that all have basically the same components regardless of the manufacturer. My fridge is a Norcold, AC is Dometic, Generator is Onan, etc..
At the end of the day the differences in gassers has more to do with length and amount or quality of fixtures and age. Two basic chassis, Ford or Chevrolet and in the real world that's not much of a difference. That's like the difference between two slightly different chocolates.
The bigger issue in my little world is are you enjoying the process? That's what RV-ing is about, or should be about. Our old motorhome has given DW, a couple of dogs and me some awesome trips. I mean, off the charts, awesome trips. There is no perfect anything, so looking for perfection is an exercise in frustration.
Our 1990 28 foot P-30 rides super smooth. As to drivability, well, it depends. If there's a good crosswind out on the interstate it's no fun, at all. But, in moderate conditions at 70 MPH it drives easy. Better than at 55 in the same conditions. Once I get used to it I can drive all day. I have a buddy with a 33 foot P30 and his does much better. I have a lot of overhang off the back of the rear axle and that has a negative impact on the ride. His has the rear axle way back there and not much overhang and seems to smooth the basic same chassis right out. Same basic engine and transmission. Very different ride quality. His ride is better than mine.
My old MH has a little delamination on the drivers side. Frankly I don't really care. It's mine for better or worse and there's nothing reasonable that I can do about it so, I don't care. It doesn't affect anything. The good news, or the bad news, is that the MH being a 1990 model it won't have much of a resale anyway. If I were in your shoes I'd have to make a judgement call on all the units.
As far as the Bounders, some of them were very good motorhomes. They, like many, used the the same basic everything that all the other motorhomes used. I have a buddy who's older than fossils that has a vintage Bounder. He uses it a lot. He dry camps as much as he can because he's cheap. I once saw him in Maggie Valley dry camping with RV parks everywhere. Anyway, his old Bounder is still kicking but, he keeps up with repairs and servicing. It's a solid motorhome. I would look at what chassis it is on and make my decision based on that. The house is probably well built. Then there is the issue of it's cost vs. upkeep.
I have this same generator. When it's running right it's a sweet generator. When not it can be frustrating. I had to replace the voltage regulator a month or so ago. Mine would start but, only run with the start switch held down, which isn't good for it.
Glad you got this thing running smoothly. Mine surges till it gets warm. It usually takes a couple of minutes to stop. I think I need a governor spring or, my choke is having an issue.
My 28 foot class A has the GM 7.4. It tows with no problems at all. Our MH weighs 13,000 pounds dry. I figure that with the car and tanks, clothes, DW, etc., the 7.4 is pulling more like 17,000 pounds down the highway. In my mind the smaller V-8 might be sucking wind to try to pull the motorhome and pull a car. If I were in your shoes I'd take it for a drive and see how it feels. If the motorhome is doing all it can do to pull it's self then I'd keep looking. Nothing worse than getting a unit only to find that it wont do the job.
By the way, don't be afraid to look at used class A motorhomes. If you're looking for the sleeping capacity of a C then most A's wont work out. But, in my experience the A's seem to always have a big engine and so towing power is there. Plus, it's my guess that the gas mileage wont be much different.
Please check the tires on anything you buy. Don't drive on old rubber in a motorhome. Very dangerous.
Also, for anything you test drive get it out on the interstate. Our P30 chassis requires constant attention out on the highway. No texting and such, especially in a cross wind. Know what you're getting into.
Yep, no Chinese tires for me either. Been there, done that, still havent fixed all the damage they caused. Look at Coopers. They are holding up really well, they ride good and mine are made in Arkansas, USA.
My advice would be to stay open minded. When you find a unit you think will work for you don't throw it out because it's on a GM chassis. I have a Chevy P30 chassis and havent had any major issues. The 454 is strong and the transmission has been no problem whatsoever. Some had the automatic parking brake which had some issues I've heard. My unkle had that chassis and never had a problem with his but, it does sound like a common issue.
I also have a friend that has a 31 foot class A on the Ford chassis with the 460 and she loves it. Never had any problems worth mentioning.
As to years, I would stay open minded. I have seen some older units that were beautiful and some newer one's that were trashed. When looking for a used motorhome you have to take each one as an individual. Plus, go back a couple of years and you can really go higher end like Holiday Rambler, etc.. I'm not the least bit scared of an older motorhome as long as it's been loved.
Do the research to see what twenty grand will buy. You will probably find a better deal from an individual but, you'll not get the servicing that you may get buying used from a dealer. Doing a service on a gasser isn't a big deal and doesn't cost a lot (depending on the materials you choose). But, if I were buying I'd do a major service before any big trips.
For goodness sake check the tires. If they aren't recent figure that into your cost. Also, as you are aware, look it over for water damage, soft spots, etc.. A little, minor water damage may be no big deal. But, a neglected leak can completely ruin a motorhome. All roofs eventually leak. The attention to detail and repairs is critical. I wouldn't hesitate to get a motorhome with a rubber roof. But, I know that it might need some TLC. They work just fine and are easy to repair.
When you buy used, if it hasn't already been done expect to have to do a few things like:
Oil and filter on the generator (may need fuel filter)
Oil and filter on the chassis
lube the entire chassis
May need to flush brake fluid
Flush radiator by the book
Wiper blades (can be pricy)
Tune up (probably just plugs)
Check the spare tire if it has one.
Flush the fresh water tank and use some bleach
I just use Fram filters and dino motoroil except on the generator which gets Rotella (still dino oil). I'll spend a little on a set of plugs just because I don't want to mess with it again for a while. I do my own lube on the chassis and it cost me very little to do that.
I have also back a short distance with my CRV. It's different for sure and I have to believe there's a little luck involved. I suppose that you could get good at it with a whole lot of regular practice.
Mine is a 28 foot. I have rarely gone without a toad and usually it's for a weekend in the mountains when we already have all our groceries, etc.. It's always been a lot of fun to do it this way. But, it's twisty roads, campfires and not much sightseeing. We stop on the way home at the same place for breakfast and they have RV parking.
Looks like the toad is a must for this trip. I looked at some travel videos and around Mt. Rushmore there are tunnels in the rocks that the RV wouldn't get through. From my house to Rapid City is a shade over 1,600 miles. I could be there in three days without too much fuss. DW wont tolerate any more miles a day than that. Which is a good thing I guess. Even in the RV she hates to ride.