It depends on your budget. It is MUCH easier to find an older short E-350 than any of the others. And they are cheaper. An E-450 may carry more weight, but we stock ours full and are still under full weight. Have not had issues with handling.
We are fine with climbing up into bed in our 22 ft rig. It is not that far when we step on a stool on the dinette bench after the cushion is removed.
We love the short length and have taken it on many an AZ dirt road. We use "training wheels" to keep from losing anything underneath although we lost one set of those wheels and the steps on a particularly rocky unpaved road. We do the repairs and go back out again.
We typically go from 3 to 10 miles off the paved roads to find seclusion and have never tried to tow. We fit in some restaurant and smaller parking spaces by backing in and overhanging a spot that is over grass, and in big parking lots it is OK to take two.
But there are folks who tow jeeps and love the extra ability to go on 4wd roads. Could never get as far off road with the RV though if we towed. Maybe taking a dirt bike on a rear mount would offer the flexibility you want and still be short enough to get out of established spots.
I like to take photos of how isolated we are when we camp.http://i911.photobucket.com/albums/ac316/EMD360/Campsites/file-1.jpg width=600 This one is from northern AZ, not far from the northern side of the Grand Canyon.
Have fun shopping!
Thanks pnichols, checked them out. They do have more services if I understand the list under the premium column. Especially a mobile mechanic, which might be a good first step if you break down. GS had a very reasonable ($79) introductory price though. If I had to pay full price, I would compare more closely. I'm glad I had a good experience with them these two first times I used them. I was surprised I didn't get a rating email after I used the service though. Almost everyone does that these days and I don't mind responding for good or ill.
Thanks for sharing your feedback on my trip report. We are so fortunate to be able to get out and see the country in comfort and safely.
I didn't mention on the good side the nice guy in Kansas, a local camping for the weekend, who helped us with the awning.
pnichols you are so right that so many other things CAN go wrong on a trip and shattering a front window would be awful.
I didn't even notice a MIX setting on the air conditioning, but mostly was switching it while driving so maybe I missed it. I don't think the air was even capable of blowing on my feet. I sure thought about extra heat shielding after this trip though. Funny we never noticed hot feet before the long trip, and we drive in pretty hot weather here in AZ. I think something broke, but won't have it looked at until I get it back here at the end of August.
I have read good things about Coach Net but Good Sam's offer of a deal for all cars instead of the just the RV swayed me. They are easy to sign up for. Also we had an overheating problem with our car just this week and they towed it to a garage. One that misdiagnosed the problem but we at least found out it was drivable and we took it to our own mechanic. So two service calls this time. Last time I signed up it was just for the RV and we didn't have a call. I ended up dropping it because we never needed it. But for the long trip...it just made sense. Your posts are always so helpful. Glad you have the same taste in RV's!
I have lost MPG too and only have been driving the RV since 2009 so it is not ethanol. I bought a K&N filter at the Good Sam rally in March 2012, and I have not cleaned it yet. SOOO. Definitely something I should have done by now. It sounds like I should look into MAF cleaner too. Post your new MPG, did the fix work?
Yeah, I used to check RV net almost daily. Now that I've retired I'm too busy! :@
Just took the RV on my first cross country trek though. Drove from Phoenix to Colorado and picked up the GK and DD. Took the family to Lake Scott in Kansas for Memorial Day weekend. Drove out to visit family in Indiana. The kids flew back and I drove alone to visit more family in Illinois and then back across to Colorado where I left the RV so the kid could use it until the end of the summer when I will drive it back to Phoenix for winter.
It was a great trip! I love that little RV. It got terrible mileage on the trip, Scan gauge said I averaged 7 mpg. Some days it was only 5. Highest price I paid for gas was $4.38 in Illinois, lowest was $3.38 in Arizona. I have the receipts but have not had time to add up the total trip.
What went right:
1. Lovely time with family and friends.
2. Memories of traveling with the grandkids.
3. Seeing the beautiful country, stopping to tour St. Louis, the river and the arch.
4. Just driving. Day and night, rain and snow (on the ground in the mountains.)
5. Stopping at reserved state park sites along the route. The parks were very nice and the people friendly. So many of them are close to either I 70 or I 80. I liked the security of knowing I had a place to stay at night. I only drove about 5 hours a day.
6. Plenty of good food, comfortable chairs, toys for the kids and other preparations. We wanted for nothing.
What went wrong:
1. Used Good Sam to get more oil in Kansas (maybe this should be under the right column too)--it was a hot day, over 100, and the engine seemed to be getting really hot. The coolant was fine but the oil seemed low, no problem on the gauge but I put in an extra quart and it was still low. Of course the Good Sam service was great and the guy who brought the oil was very nice. He said in this heat a few hours in the shade was better for all of us. Plus he did not overcharge me for the oil. You know I was stuck and he could have gouged me on the oil but it was only $24 for 6 quarts. The engine only took one though. Amazing.
2. It probably wasn't really low on oil, something was wrong with the air conditioning. It was getting hot under the dash on my feet. Really hot. The infrared registered 127 degrees! My daughter realized that if the air conditioning was on defrost, it didn't get that hot. So we spent the rest of the drive using just defrost.
3. Locked ourselves out with the grandkids in the RV while we were stopped and they were sleeping. (We were not leaving the RV, just stopped for the hot engine problem.) I was so panicked, I forgot I had an extra set of keys that I could get to outside the RV. We woke up the 4 year old and after some tears, he was able to undo his seatbelt and let us in.
4. Broke the awning. We had trouble getting it back up in Kansas when the wind came up but that didn't break it. I ran into a road barrier in Indiana. The barrier was very close to the side of the road, with oncoming traffic close too. I clipped the PLASTIC :S barrier but it tore the front bracket halfway off. So I thought, no problem, I can fix that. I took it off, put some spare eternabond behind it to cover the holes and mounted it again. I had to move the awning arm out of the way and when I finished, I could not get the arm back down. I think it was the tension, because I could NOT get the tension lock to move. When I took off the upper bolts the tension went "whizzz" and once I did the other side the awning unrolled beautifully. So I thought I would just take it off. I could NOT get the material out of the sandwiched trim at the top. All of this in the Indiana heat and humidity. So I did the dirty deed. The awning material was just being held together by eternabond near the top so I ripped the whole thing off like saran wrap. I had to travel home with the awning roll on the floor of the RV.
5. The overhead leaked water while driving in a rainstorm for hours in Missouri. I had recaulked the front seams before we left. I bought some brush on waterproofing for a crack in the filon but didn't get to that. The day after we got to Indiana, I moved the mattress cushions and felt the wetness in one corner. Yikes! I took the cushions out and let the area air out. Then I checked after every stationary rain and it stayed dry. It must have been driving into the rain that allowed the water in. At least I hope so.
6. I had to replace a fuse under the dash. The Scan Gauge and 12 v outlets in the dash stopped working. Of course it took a mini fuse and I only had large ones. One of my friends had a small one though and replaced it for me. I bought a mini-kit to keep in the RV too.
I would do it again in a heartbeat. What a great way to travel! Despite chocolate milk on the cushions and crayon drawing on the window (she's two!) I would take the grandkids again. They seemed to love it and were great travelers. They like the RV, they like all the playgrounds we stopped at, they like eating and using the potty in the RV. Great FUN!
Pnichols, thanks for the info on the life of your batteries. They are the same ones I have (although I only have one now) and it looks like keeping them fully charged on your converter has done the trick for long life.
I tried keeping the RV plugged in and tried a trickle charger from Harbor Freight, but in both cases didn't keep at it. I would guess I kept them at low charge too much of the time, cycling them deeply when boondocking, not recharging regularly.
The remaining Interstate does keep its charge over time, starts out at a good 13.6 or so but seems to lose power quickly under load.
We found the chassis Duralast battery completely dead one day and started it up with the Vector charger on boost. After that it worked about a month and then wouldn't take a charge. Don't think it should have gone dead the first time unless there is a phantom load I don't know about. Hard to believe it would go bad so fast after one dead battery incident either though. It has been winter in AZ too which is less hard on batteries than the summer heat.
I'm thinking about getting one for cross country to Indiana and Illinois this summer. Not many toll roads in the area but if there are, stopping to pay is getting really painful and cruising through with the EZ Pass is just too easy.
I have read that the overhang does not impact the box and it works just fine from a class C in the typical center mirror spot. My sister has one but does not attach it at all, just removes it from the console when moving through the toll gates and then stores it back out of sight.
We have a 22' RV with a carrier on the back making it about 24' total. We drive it all over cities and towns and have only been limited by underground garages and some airports. It maneuvers city streets, and parks well in open lots. We usually back it into a place on the edge of a lot, let it hang over the edge a foot or so and it takes only one space. Going longer than 25' will probably be just as comfortable to drive and park in malls, Walmarts, etc., but it would be more difficult to park in smaller parking lots at museums and restaurants.
Upon further research, PPL who carries just about everything, shows roof edge but without a spec drawing.
PPL Roof Edging
All-Rite offers the most variety of molding types with drawings and measurements for each.
I could use some new edge molding too. I could try the Winnebago parts stores too. I hate that their items and prices are not online though. I emailed one of those companies asking about window latches, sending the item number and all the information they requested for a quote, and never heard anything back from them.
It is easy to find the vinyl trim that fits into the metal molding but much harder to find the molding itself.
I tried ebay but our Itasca trim is white and this looks aluminum.
Trailer molding on Ebay
I have the DCM0100 Interstate AGM. I thought it was dead when I measured it, BUT I think the battery in the cheap meter I was using was going out. I put a new battery in the meter and got a normal reading. So maybe the late night purchase of a new Walmart EverSTART (not LAST :S) was unnecessary. It is the Marine 29DC, the biggest one they had @ 13" long, DC is for Deep Cycle, rated at 125 amps @ 1 hour so something less than that, I forget the formula to convert to amps @ 20 hours.
I murdered one of the DCM100's. Bought them both used from an elevator guy. He could turn them in for $30 or sell them for $75. I thought it was a good deal. They were supposed to be almost new and looked it. One lasted two years and the other is still going even with my efforts to kill it. I tried tipping the dead one and deep charging with two different battery chargers. No luck.
The chassis Duralast replacement battery was "free" but it will only be replaced again before the 36 month warranty from the original purchase is over. I don't think that is a bad deal really, 36 months of guaranteed battery life, even if it fails 3 times in those 3 years.
I use a Scan Gauge and checked alternator output after the new battery was installed, during our weekend trip, and that seems good. Does not seem to be a problem there. The connections were not at all corroded when the battery failed. Maybe the isolator? The Winnebago has the Intellitec disconnect and isolator.
Friday night I returned the chassis Duralast AGM to Autozone for a warranty replacement after 13 of the 36 months. The alternator is putting out 13.8 to about 14.2 while driving according to the Scan Gauge, so I don't think it is a problem with the alternator as the sales guy said. (Couldn't be a product issue, could it?)
The test took about 1 1/2 hours but the guy concurred with me that it was bad. The new battery is good for the rest of the warranty period though.
I also bought a regular lead acid at Walmart, the Everlast 29DC, for the coach. Mostly because it was the night before we were leaving on a trip and the AGM was low.
I am tired of babying the Interstate AGM that seems to hold current fine with no load, but not very long with a load. I hope to have this one battery last at least the 12 months it is warranted for, even though I'm losing amp hours by switching, new lead acid should work better than aging AGM.
I have put off replacing the converter and therefore buying new AGM batteries. I suppose buying this Walmart battery puts off those decisions now until this one gives out or until we need more power.
When ours was new we needed to clean the spark arrestor too. What a pain to get the bolts out! I remember the air filter was a bit of a challenge but persistence paid off. However, I can't figure out how to get to the spark plug so I just didn't change that even though I bought one. Ended up having to get a new carburetor though which was about $300. I didn't try sea foam which others say fix the carb problem. From the looks of the removed one, ours was badly gummed up. Thick yellow gunk inside. Now I exercise ours regularly to avoid the build up. Good luck with yours.
Crazy ebay, I paid about $6 at the Tempe Ikea for the lap table. They were a "special" item at the checkout area. Ikea is extremely expensive for shipping anyway so if you are close enough to an Ikea in your travels, it is worth it to stop in and see if you can add a gadget or three. They have a gazillion items and the clearance room is always entertaining too.
I just purchased a lap/bed tray with removable legs that fits exactly over the sink (without the legs). I'm not sure if it will be useful yet, or just in the way. I really wanted a flip up counter, but I don't have enough room anywhere near the kitchen area to install one.
If you decide what you need, you surely can find it. Many mid-90's 24'-29' class C's and 30-34' class a's are available (Even a 28' Safari!). Just look at phoenix.craigslist.com. I usually limit to for sale by owner. Lots of choices in your price range right now. Fly out and drive home, buying and trading your way back.
Yeah, that is interesting about the degree of depreciation per year for a larger motor home. We bought a 6 year old coach with about 20,000 miles for 48% of a discounted new price (without options, according to the new retail price on nada.) We paid about $1000 over low nada and $3,000 under high at the time.
We spent so much less than getting a new coach and have had good luck overall, plus have had a lot of fun. The worst issue was the rot in the back but that is fixed now. I just looked up current nada value and it has depreciated to approximately 32% of new at 10 years old in 2013. The chart you posted shows it should be at about 26% of new at 10 years old so that seems like your chart is depreciating a year or two faster than ours has. That is about $7000 of depreciation in 3 years. I guess that is better than $25,000 in 3 years for a new mid-priced model.
It depends on how you want to spend your money and also how you want to camp. It would be a shame to take a new coach down some of the roads we have traveled, but we can justify that since we put less money into the original purchase. Do you care that much about the color? If so you might pass for that reason alone. But financially, I think buying an RV in good condition used is a better use of my money. There is plenty to spend money on even with a used coach--so you have more to work with for the stuff you don't have if you have not been an RV'er.
So far all we have done to our 2003 (2002 chassis) is replace the thermostat (other than consumables like the battery, tires and fluids.) We have had it three years and put about 15,000 miles on it.
The spark plug issue was really "fixed" in 2000 and then there were still a few issues and it was re-fixed. When I was doing the research on the problem it was pointed out that only a few vehicles were affected and that most had no problems, even with the faulty 98 and 99 vehicles. The spark plugs are not replaced until 100,000 miles and starting with only 15,000 that will take awhile.
Expect less than 10 mpg though. We sometimes get 10, but now that I take lots of "equipment" along, we get more like 8 or 9. Never saw below 7.5 due to wind, but maybe I wasn't looking. They say the larger ones get about the same mileage as the shorter ones since it the wind resistance that hurts mileage.
The biggest issue with a used coach is probably the condition of the house part. So many leak and rot out parts of them, especially may not have been noticed if it was sitting a lot of its life. Then the refrigerator is an expensive replacement. Our oven didn't work and it still doesn't after I've replaced almost every part! But we love ours too and I like to tinker with it.
I didn't get streaks with RMP3. Did you use Zep? I stripped it once after a year or so and recoated. The second time I got peeling on the cabover. I think the prep was not as thorough as the first time I did it. The prep is really important. Scrubbing with the fine abrasive of Bar Keeper's Friend and then washing VERY well and rinsing well is required or the acrylic coating will show marks not from the coating itself but it may be showing up the streaks you left when you washed it. Just a thought.