What are the issues that we ought to focus on in terms of how well a motorhome performs as living quarters? The ultimate test for a motorhome is when the coach is used on a full time basis but the value of taking these issue into account is of importance for casual use as well. Each of us will have our own personal priorities. A simple note to manufacturers inquiring about the suitability of a unit for full timing might well be instructive.
Below are some categories that ought to cover most of the bases. I have inserted a few seed comments but no real insight. What I am hoping for is both some insight and user reports in terms of experience that can be used for folks in the hunt. For those of you offering negative experiences please tell us why.
This thread is not going to be about bashing but I do expect that there will be both positive and negative comments specific to various manufacturers. I would appreciate it if we can confine our comments to the topic and refrain from taking issue with some one because their experience is different from yours. I will remove any comments that I feel are just bashing or personal attacks.
The insight I am looking for is on this forum if we can capture it many folks will benefit from it.
There is no need to comment on all categories just offer insights were you can. All constructive inputs will be appreciated.
Counter space, kitchen cabinet layout and location of where things will fit
Evenness, and effectiveness and noise level
How well it will cool in what outside temperature and noise level
Floor, ceiling, side walls, window
Wind rain, outside noises plus air conditioning and heater noise
Size of shower and toilet enclosure sink access once saw a bath room sink where the medicine cabinet extended over the sink so if a person wanted to position there head over the sink it would take a stoop and duck maneuver
Duty cycle or life expectancy of materials and components
Kitchen and bath room fixtures, carpeting. furniture materials
Besides the insulation issue one has to examine the suitability to the most extreme climate they may be exposed to for any duration. For instance our bays are heated and each of the holding tanks has a heater. The bay doors are also insulated and floor is a double floor. But we live in a cold climate.
While not full time, we do spend three months in S Fla and usually a month or more in it in the summer. Tried to find another Beaver, but could not find the FLOORPLAN we needed,,,two slides up front for a office with two puters, filing cabnets, and printer. Really like the AquaHot HEATING system, especially when going down the road when it's cold plus freezing water is not an issue as it heats all of those areas. As for AC, I like the overhead/ducted/reverse cycle units and I have solved the noise problem by running the rear unit [with all vents back there closed] during the day and then using the middle unit during the night when needed. Really like the KoolMatic unit for VENTILATION as it moves a lot more air than the FanTastic units and is all we need most of the time here in S Fla. The INSULATION must be pretty good as one AC does it most of the time and outside noise is not noticable. Would only buy a unit with thermopane windows and awnings over every window. Would not buy another MH with dark paint up high as it increases the heat load by a noticable amount. ERGONOMICS are good, especially the LCD up front that does not hit my head or shoulder [I'm 6'4"] plus there is enough head room so I do not have to duck anywhere. Would like to have the barn doors for getting into the STORAGE bays, but JoeyBeds help a lot to get things out fron under the slides. Would buy this unit again as once I removed the sofa and replaced it with a office, it is very livable and meets our needs.
This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
When we purchased our Dolphin, many of the items Johnny mentioned were high on our list. We found floorplan (three slides) and interior appointments were driving factors, as we are spending between 5-6 months on the road. Two furnaces and basement air with heat pump are definite plusses in the creature comfort area. We have always had plenty of storage space, its always a battle not to take too much.
Fred and Bonnie
Frankie & Scarlett, (The Cats)
2005 Dolphin LX 6375
2006 Saturn VUE
As I've Matured... I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
Anytime you are using your coach you are in fact full timing as you are not in some motel room. What it comes down too is you spend your whole life is some type of shelter be it one on a foundation or one on wheels that you can move around in. So I expect to have the same comfort in my motorhome that I find in my stick house. Good quality construction with good dependable applicances. To me there is really no difference in being a semi-fulltimmer to a full fulltimer. You find the coach that meets your needs and then you move down the road to enjoy your lifestyle.
Great topic! Here are some thoughts based on having had 3 Class As...
-- Kitchen counter space is crucial if there will be much cooking; using the sink covers for counter space just isn't really viable for day-to-day cooking/living IMHO.
-- Also need adjustable shelves to maximize available cabinet space.
-- Basement fridge/freezer just too inconvenient for me; like a 4-door or SxS
-- BR without slide since I visit my Mom and have to park on street with slide in; don't want to climb all over bed to get to stuff
-- Prefer a mid-entry for easy of loading, carrying groceries, entertaining, and safety in the event an emergency exit is required
-- Zonal heating is a big + in my book. Have Hurricane system which is fine but miss my old A/Cs that had a heat option for inexpensive heating on shore power.
-- cools well and quietly
-- good tip for traveling in hot climates is to install a drape immediately behind cab area so the dash A/C keeps driver and passenger cool without having to cool the whole rig; can buy track at CW and make/buy drapes then remove when not needed
-- I have a ceiling fan in the BR that I love! Great circulation so don't need to run A/C in there to sleep comfortably unless it's *really* hot outside
-- between windows and various ceiling mounted fans, ventilation has never been a problem.
-- essential! Dual-pane windows help a lot.
-- "Real" curtains - especially insulated ones - help in very hot or cold climates (vs only day & nite shades or blinds)-can make some with Velcro attachment to fit in front of normal shades/blinds and only put up when needed; looks nice and helps a lot with heat or cold
--Love the sound of rain on roof. Other noise is muted enough to not be much of an issue...
-- size of shower seems less of an issue than the amount of overall room in the area where the shower is - for toweling off, changing clothes etc. My Aerbus had double doors that could be opened across the hall to make a very large dressing area/bath. My Safari has a huge room including bathtub;-)
-- trays in compartments help make otherwise inaccessible space somewhat usable (low/short stuff only at back end so it will fit under center beam)
--would prefer side-opening bay doors instead of hinged on top - have hit my head too many times;-(
Duty cycle or life expectancy of materials and components
-- prefer solid countertop (corian-type) to Formica; easier to clean
-- carpet is a pain with critters but nice underfoot; have ceramic tile in kitchen and bath that eventually I may replace with wood or pergo ... seems like a poor choice for weight but rig came that way
-- personally would like to see less dramatic pattern materials on fixed items like window valances etc. - solid colors would give more decorating options especially when original couch, bedspread, etc. wear out/fade.
-- even if you don't live in an extreme climate area, having climate-controlled basement etc. prevents problems if you travel to such an area or when selling the rig
Sherry & Ted - T-Bear, KayDee and Bianca
98 Safari Serengeti 40DP
04 Jeep Liberty 4x4 toad
FMCA 366051; Escapees 93337;
Safari International; Safari R Us;
WINs; RoVing Rods
A comment about air conditioners. We've had roof A/C-heat units in previous RV's and they are loud for my taste. We now have basement A/C-heat pump that is great in all areas of the coach except the BR. that's where the return plenum is and it's just above the compressor/condenser. It's loud too especially when it cycles on during the night. We also have two gas furnaces for zone heating requirements.
I feel sure manufacturers could make a very quiet A/C unit.....I would be happy to pay more for it if/when it's available.
'02 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage
350hp Cummins ISC
'06 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
5.7 L HEMI
Good topic. one that I would like to comment on for sure.
Counter space is really important to us. The extension that we can let out when the slide is out sure helps. Some of the new coaches have a pull out cabinet that is sure nice.
Our dual furnaces do a good job of keeping the coach evenly warm. Wish that we had elected to add the heat pump type air conditioners. Have used them in some coaches that were on display and they really worked well.
Dual zone ducted air keeps the coach evenly cool and is relatively quiet. Fan speed selection helps us to control both the noise and the evenness of the cooling.
We have crosss ventilation in the bedroom slide that is quite helpful when we are not using the air. Also the vent fans are adequate for keeping the air circulating during the time when air is not appropriate.
So far it has been adequate. 2 inch walls and 5 inch ceiling are adequate. The floor seems to be adequate also. We have not been in really cold climate so it has not been put to a real test yet. Windows are dual pane and that helps also. Basement is insulated and heated.
Rain noise is a little more than I had expected but no more, and possibly less than our other coaches have been. We have a moulded fiberglass roof with foam insulation that does keep it relatively quiet.
So far so good in this department. Since the TV is mounted in the street side slide it gets it away from the steps. Since I am 6'2" I find the center front mount a little hazardous.
Volume is good, access is adequate. I would like the barn door type of doors but they did not come out on my brand of coach till the new ones (2007). Slide out trays really help.
Duty cycle or life expectancy of materials and components.
Kitchen and bath room fixtures are all high quality such as Moen faucets. Expect that they will last a long time. Sinks are stainless steel.
I think that it will be OK but since I have not had it in extremes yet, I cannot say for sure. The bays are insulated and heated. Heating and air have been adequate so far and seem to have reserve. While it is not a high line unit, it will probably work for the climates that I intend to have it in.
"No one can guarantee success, only effort."
Bob & Fran
2005 Coachmen Sportscoach Elite 40 ft DP
2012 Chevy Malibu
Ready Brute Tow Bar
Ready Brake Tow Brake
JB Traveler said:"Anytime you are using your coach you are in fact full timing as you are not in some motel room."
Although it is true that my wife has taken two suitcases on an overnight trip, the stuff that she "needs" to carry in the MH as a full timer is considerably more than what she carried as a part timer. Also there is the reality that things will not get better as far as design is concerned. We don't have a 4000 square foot house to go back to tomorrow, next week or next month.
Check out another thread a day or so back about the ideal floor plan for more ideas.