The other thing to do instead of checking the dealerships is to go to a RV show. You will see many more campers of all types there and then go looking for a dealer that supplies them.
You can usually buy the camper at the show if you so desire. My suggestion though is the show is the place you can really discuss the pros and cons or your likes and dislikes on the RV.
That latter part can really cause you a problem because once the sales staff knows you like a unit the harder it is to get them to negotiate with you.
When I bring my pardette to a show, and she finds a trailer she likes, she starts telling the salesman where she wants to put the curtains. Let me tell you how hard it is to get a nickle knock off at that point!
I did manage to $6,000 knocked off this last time by playing 3 dealers against each other. Only one was withing 20 miles of me and the other two were within a 100 miles. That means about 14 gallons of diesel round trip. However, saving $6K dollars on the sale price was pretty good in my book! Not only that, I got better than I expected on the trade-in and a lot more than the dealership 20 miles away.
One other thing about RVing...be certain it is what you want to do! No matter how nice your RV is, it will never be as comfortable as your home. Most RVs do not have washer/dryer. The ones that do tend to be small. Be sure that is what you want.
More than that do all your trinkets fit? The ones that don't are you willing to part with them? Your workshop space is going to be real spartan.
I agree with the person who said to rent a Class A first. Spending a week on the road in a Class A will tell you a lot about whether this is for you.
You want to make sure your spouse wants to do this as much as you do. If someone is unhappy, if you cannot find the right rig, you may want to reconsider it.
I use iSmartAlarm for the past 3 years. It is all self monitored which means you do not pay for a monitoring service. (Here you go Gonzo42-->)So I pay $0/month for monitoring. Really hard to beat that price.
Best value for the money, especially since late 2016 which gives you control over each sensor.
The downside is that they don't have smoke detectors. I use Roost for the fire, smoke, CO detectors. Those alert on my phone like iSmartAlarm does for intrusions.
One thing I found out about Roost. If the alarm doesn't use a 9 volt battery (Roost replaces that battery) you put the Roost inside or near the horn on your alarm and it will work just fine. The Roost has a microphone built into its battery and it listens for the warble of the alarm horn. Pretty clever.
I have 3,500 sqft house single story. I have about $600 invested in the entire system ($350 when I started with the basic system). As I added more sensors to better cover the house I got to where I am now. I will probably add more cameras in the future.
My iSmartAlarm has worked almost flawlessly. It has limitations and if you can live with them it is a great alarm system. It is inexpensive and is literally as easy as their videos claim it is to set up.
Some people have complained about it not having a battery backup. $50 at a Best Buy and you can add an off-the-shelf battery to your system.
This video is pretty funny, but it really is that easy to set up.
Man vs. Woman (iSmartAlarm install)
The biggest cost you will have is when you you have your A or C on the road. Figure 5 MPG then add the cost of fuel (and oil) and it all starts to add up.
Periodically you have to change out fuel and oil filters and class A diesels take oil by the gallon (really a lot of litres). Figure oil changes every 10,000+ miles (depends on the diesel engine) fuel filters every 25K+/- miles.
I am not sure what class A tires cost, but even if you don't wear them out you have to replace them every 3 years or less.
If you are going with a class A or C you are goind to have think about a toad. That is the car you see being dragged behind the class A, C.
Maintenance is another expense. Class A is really a bus. I am guessing you can get away with a few years of minimal maintenance. At some point you are going to have to have some major maintenance. I have no idea what that costs.
The other maintenance is going to be the RV itself. Every year you want the roof checked, slidelouts inspected, anode rods changed every other year, awning inspected (awning will probably need to be replaced every 3-5 years)
You could shop used. Depreciation is huge on any RV (A,B,C,TT,TC,5ver, hybrid). An RV (toyhauler) we bought that was 3 months old had lost a third of its value. Be aware that used are sold as is and if you discover a major problem after you sign, gues what?
Also if you purchase at the end of the season you can save more money.
It is rare that a trailer can be worth more than you paid for it. They aren't like houses and they do wear out.
The other option is to look at travel trailer or 5ver. The advantage here are that TV (tow vehicle) and trailer are separate. If you have trouble with either you can leave it at the shop. With a class A or C the whole rig is in the shop.
If you have trouble with the TV, you can always replace it. That is a little tough to do with an A or C.
If you are still going to keep a home, you can always use the RV as a lifeboat. We have hurricanes around here. If the power gets knocked out we fire up the gensets and live in the RV until the power comes back on. If we are having a party or family get together, we have extra fridge space and ovens, burner space as well.
One of the things I would install is a soft starter. They will add about $350 to HVAC, but they reduce the LRA by up to 70 percent. This might allow you to start a 15K HVAC while gunning your gensets in eco mode.
Before you buy, rent a similar sized TT for a week...Great advice and a lot easier than it was a few years ago. Not only that, some will set up the trailer at the park for you so if a different TV needs to be purchased you won't need to do that.
...rolling motel room. we'd set up, tour the area, and we were only ever in the camper for our pre-bed time routine and to sleep. We don't even like cooking inside, we prefer to cook outside.My first trailer was a Trailmanor 3326. In my opinion that is TM's best trailer but they are no longer being produced.
I learned several things. Number 1 having a fulltime bed is a good thing. When you are exhausted the last thing you want to have to do is assemble a bed. Add to that, the way TM was put together putting linens on the bed was super easy because the bed table could be slid in.
Number 2 the biggest problem with a pop up is that everything has to be below the table tops. Huge nuisance. The part of 2 is learning how to put the top up or down in rain....our next camper can be tight inside, as long as we have bed space and storage space. I wouldn't even get a bathroom in it, it's not necessary for us. We don't mind campground bathhouses.We like having room. We do Cowboy Action Shooting which is quite a group activity. When you have putting lead on steel for 5 hours at altitude and sun bringing in you fellow posse members for cold drinks and a place to stretch out goes a long way.
On bathrooms, guys can be very spartan. If you are married there can be certain requirements. I learned if you do not want to have to take the dogs for a walk at midnight, a bathroom needs to have a certain amount privacy.
The other nice thing is to have bathroom access while on the road. It is great not to have to worry about whether you have found a good bathroom.
...just received the details on the Safari Condos- including pricing. Definitely on the upper end, especially for what you get. For the same price I could upgrade my TV and buy a traditional ultra light with more room. Definitely a niche camper - just not worth the $$ for me. too bad, I liked them.I thought they might be. The additional problem is that there are probably not too many used units out there.
The other thing to note is just about every joint that moves allows for weather to migrate across the gap. If all you have is a small propane tank that can eat up your propane fast. If you aren't doing much dry camping that might not be a problem.
The Casita people I see traveling like to have van with them where they can put the bulkier items. They keep popup canopies and such and assemble them near their Casita. The Casita is where they sleep, cook, shower, etc.but everything else is done outside.
A lot of the "sleep x" is pure magic or wishful thinking. The longer the trip the less you are going to like everyone! Divide x by either 2 or 2.5 and that will be the comfort number of people you can have in the trailer.
I just discovered the Safari Condos - brilliant design. If you have any info you don't mind sharing with me (purchase process, out to door cost to you in US dollars, etc.) I'd appreciate it.I agree it is ab neat design, but in their specs they do not list water capacity among other things.
I am going with the information as provided by diesel mechanic. He said on the LBZ (probably not just the LBZ) GMC put a fuel tank lift pump in the fuel tank on the 3500 models but not on the 2500s. In later years IIR it was standard.
The manual fuel prime for the fuel filter had a nasty habit of losing prime. The kit with new o rings costs on $13 dollars and takes a ham handed person like myself about an hour to change out.
The lift pump cures all of that, but since I have only replaced it once, it gives you lots of notice before it fails, and have never had to do it again I haven't had the lift pump installed.
I did not like mine at first and would rather have had the space. However, now that I retired and are taking the grands camping, the outdoor kitchen has some real appeal.
If you are on shore power the refer is great for drinks and stuff that doesn't spoil. That means the kids are going up and down the steps to get things. That refer also cools faster than the internal refer. If the day isn't that hot the drinks will stay cool even enroute.
The Dmax LBZ was one of their best engines ever. GMC did some dumb things on the 2500 like not installing a lift pump that they put on their 3500s.
Once you get into the years of the emmission control equipment every last one of them (GM, Ford, Chrysler) had one problem or another. The new ones are just starting to get out of those problems so I would be leary of almost anyone's new model.
Mine has been far from problem free but has 200,000 miles on it. I have had the fuel filter primer pump fail, transfer case motor (4WD) going bad, the water pump leak, the thermostat stick open, the alternator almost fail, and a leaky hose on the power steering pump.
All told that was just under $2,000 in repairs. I had only two times being left on the side of the road. One for stupidity when I put gas in the tank instead of diesel a few years ago. The other was on a 100+ degree day around 6,500 ft towing a 10K pound trailer when the engine went into limp mode on fuel pressure. The fuel hose and filter were the suspected culprits and just letting the engine cool for a 1/2 hour allowed us to drive another 4 to 5 hours to get the filter changed (that was 2 years ago).
You are going to get so much garbage about everyone's great diesel it will make your head explode. My advice is find a few really good diesel mechanics that are working at a successful shop and talk to them. They see what breaks down, what stays out of the shop, which ones are the most expensive and time consuming to repair.
Do your homework first and learn a lot about them before you try to talk to them. At best you are going to get 5 minutes, but it will be the best 5 minutes you have prepared for.
BTW, I was going to get a Dodge Cummings without the pollution gear, but my mechanic talked me out of it. He said the Cummins engine was good, but everthing else was the problem.
So far, I have been happy with my Dmax.
Here is part II
Micro-Air's Easy Start
Emerson also makes one but I have not been able to successfully post its URL.
Some forums claim that these soft starters are part of higher end HVACs. One says Dometic uses these on some of their HVACs. Others that have used these report the units cut light dimming, startup noise, enhanced longevity.
One thing seems pretty clear that adding one of these to a HVAC in the warranty period would likely void the HVAC warranty
Bear with me, because I am having trouble posting here.
I have been reading about these devices called soft starters. They are microprocessor controlled devices that ramp the current to the compressor at startup during about the first second or two. It makes sure the compressor has enough current to function but not the high peak Locked Rotor Amps the compressor demands.
The big advantage is that when running a HVAC on one of these units it controls the LRA reduces it by about 70 percent. It learns how the compressor demands its startup current during successive 5 to 10 startups on shore power. Some claim, though I have not verified, that a 13.5KBTU HVAC can easily be started and run on a soft starter with a single 2000 watt inverter in eco mode.
There are several manufacturers of these units: