Have you talked to my wife????? Awsome assesment! Is tiffin in the mix? Who has the least problems out of these choices?
I was thinking that a Tiffin DP (Phaetom or Allegro) bunk model would bump up against your budget. Personally I would look pretty hard at an Allegro Red 36QBA such as this one. Good mid size chassis. The late model Country Coach's and Monaco's are also very nice setups. Don't dismiss a coach just due to age. Each coach has to be looked at and inspected individually. I would take the older Country Coach over a year old Thor Astoria.
2006 Hurricane 31D aka 'Moby' the Whale
FCC(SW) US Navy Retired 1980-2003
Stella my Navigator
Bogart the All American RV Dog
Cocoui waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge
Thanks to all you guys for taking the time to post and help me out.
Gsmitty77- Yes we would need bunks, we are noobs, too late on buying something less charming the wife has been inside a phaeton.... bad luck for me.
SUmmer vacations and for the wife and I later on Kids are 10 + 7.
westernrvparkowner- Start at over 40'? Or are you using in for a penny in for a pound theory.
emzee- thanks on carfax
univmd- that is beautiful.... butt 43????
J-Rooster- thanks will look into
eadeal55- man you guys love the big rigs.
Thanks again keep the suggestions coming.
Yep, start at over 40'. There is absolutely no difference driving a 38 footer, a 40 footer or a 45 footer, we have had them all. The over 40 crowd all have tag axles, better ride and more capacity. The extra room more than makes up for the two or three places that you cannot get into with a 45 that would hold a 38. We had our 38 footer (2 slides) for about a year before we moved up to a 4 slide 40, two years later a ride in a friends 45 had us trading 30 days later. Never looked back and wished I had anything to do with the 38 or 40, except the money we lost not buying the 45 to start with. As for the bunk beds, only get a bunker if the boys are really young. The bunks will be a whole lot of wasted space when they stop wanting to RV and spend all their time with friends. I am not sure on the resale either, since most people who have the budget for a big pusher are not really in the child rearing years. Most big rigs have sofas (plural) that convert very easily to beds. Might make the rig more sellable or more usable for you and the wife further down the road. Also the bunks are usually kind of short, so if the NBA is in any of the kids future they may outgrow them quickly
As far as size, you have to be comfortable driving whatever you get but I tend to agree that between 37-42, there's not that much difference and I suspect that carries to over to 45 (that said, my wife doesn't drive our motor home much but she will drive it however she WILL NOT drive it when we are towing our car and she probably wouldn't drive it if it was much bigger than it is). Another distinction might be that depending on your state, you might need a different drivers license if you are over 26k lbs but you'll probably go over that with any DP so it's pretty much a non-issue (more of an issue for someone debating between a gasser or a DP). The only other issue is that even at 40' it can be harder to finding suitable spots in State and National parks - with 45 it might be quite challenging (although I don't have any personal experience there). If you are considering an model with a tag axle, there are advantages but you do lose a significant amout of storage with them (a tag motor home will probably have the same storage as a motor home 4 feet shorter).
As far as bunks, that's a personal choice but I think it's worth it. First, with the age of your kids, realistically, you'll probably be travelling with both of them for at least another 5 years and with one for 8 or 9 years. Personally, I hate having to make / undo the dinette / hide-a-bed every morning and night and I think for every ones enjoyment, you need to still be able to use the motor home after one or both kids go to bed so IMO, with kids, bunks are worth it. As far as the resale, I would have to disagree, if anything, right now, bunk houses are easier to sell than other motor homes simply because they are so rare and there's a high demand for them particularly in the used market (use yourself as an example - are you ruling out used bunk DPs? Have you seen very many? If any were available, would you consider slightly older, higher end models with bunks?). Personally, I think that used bunkhouses will be in good demand for a while - I think a significant portion of the buyers in the used market are younger and many have kids (many older buyers don't want to be bothered with used, have more money to spend on new and use it more (because they are retired / don't have young families, etc) so don't mind spending more on new). Also, even if you do want to keep the motor home after your kids are older and have stopped travelling with you, it's not very hard to convert the bunk area into a storage / closet area. It is true that bunk beds can be shorter in some model but they are usually 72-75" long (a standard twin size bed is 75" long), however they are typically narrower than regular beds so it's more of an issue for larger (not taller) children. That said, many sleeper sofas and hide-a-beds in motor homes are shorter / narrower as well so if you are ruling bunks out because of length, keep in mind that it's likely the other sleeping options in the mh will be just as short (or shorter (e.g. dinette)).
One thing you'll quickly find out is that with rvs, there's a lot of compromises and you have realistically assess your useage. The motor / chassis / drivetrain is a topic that usually gets tons of attention but most rvs probably only travel 5000-8000 miles / year. The type of camping you will do can also affect your choices - many higher end models now come with residential fridges - which IMO, are better in almost every aspect except if you routine camp without hookups (we do and I'd probably still go for a residential fridge). Washer / dryer has been mentioned - travelling with kids we would not get another mh without them but someone mentioned getting stacked units, IMO, the combo units aren't perfect but I don't know if we'd be willing to lose the extra space by having stacked units (again this might be different if we had a 45' mh) also it's kind of convenient to have a combo unit because we put the clothes in at night or when we leave during the day and by the morning or when we return, it's clean and dry - with a stacked unit, you have to switch them machines. I'd also seriously think of getting a dishwasher (when I'm on vacation, I'd rather do other things than wash dishes) but you do lose a lot of cabinet space. Also if you routinely camp without hookups, the washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc aren't of any use.
Actually, your wife is doing you a favor. Phaeton is the biggest seller for good reason: Value and factory support. I would be looking at new, particularly if you plan to RV for several years. Can be bought for 25% off MSRP.
You could also look for a one or two year old unit. Tiffin will take care of you on any major defect even if more than a year old.
You will miss taking the incremental steps many of us have done by trading up a few times to get what you really want.
Buying new will get you exactly what you want. Phaeton has residential fridge, a model with bunks, and lots of standard features. Get 3 air conditioners, stack washer/dryer and the decor you like. I do not recommend the tankless water heater. you can visit the tiffinrvforum for some good info..Good luck
Peter and Linda
2011 Tiffin Phaeton
2007 Saturn Vue toad
Bichon and Cocker (spoiled puppies)
If I had 200k in the budget for an RV, I'd take over 110k of that BACK out of the budget, and invest it in something that doesn't depreciate like an RV will (regardless of new or used).
Then, I'd take the remaining $90k or so, and use that to buy the best MH I could find. Would be a gasser in my case, as I have no desire or need for a DP, but thats just personal preference. Could go on and on with the specific things I'd be looking for, but I think most would be specific to what we want/like, and may or may not be the same as what you'd look for. Regardless, though, there are many great deals to be had out there on really nice RVs for around $90k, especially if you're considering used.
Perhaps I'm too old fashioned, cheap, stubborn, whatever, but the idea of sinking over six figures into what amounts to a huge depreciating asset...I just can't do that, even if I had that much $$ to spend.
I would be looking for a DP in the 10 to 15 year old range, medium miles on the clock, one living room slide, preferably with washer/dryer, about 30 to 36 feet long but no more than 37 feet.
I would want at least 5000 lb. towing capacity, along with a fairly high Cargo Capacity.
10 to 15 years old so that I can put PERMANENT license plates on it, and NEVER have to renew the registration!
No more than 37 feet long because I just don't want anything bigger than that, plus I have to stay less than 65 feet long with The Jeep Unlimited connected.
Oh, yeah, the tires would have to be fairly recent, too. I don't want to find tires dated 1994 like I did when I bought the Tioga!
The remainder of the money would go into a travel/maintenance account.
CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Daily Driver: '06 PT Cruiser Turbo
Toy: 1999 Dodge QC SWB, Cummins, 5 speed, 4X4
Other toys: a pair of Kawasaki Brute Force 750 ATVs and a boat.
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"
That is essentially what I did 5 years ago when shopping for a full timing coach. I had long since decided to buy used in order to get more coach for my $$$. My wife and I developed a "must have" and a " highly desired" list and from that we developed a short list of coaches to watch for. Since we were going to be full timers, where and from whom we bought was not very important to us.
We ended up with a 3 year old, top of the line coach for a good bit less that half of the original MSRP. We have lived in the coach full time now for 5 years and our coach has been as close to trouble free as a mechanical devise can be. Last summer we spent the month of July having some interior remodeling done & now we feel like we have another new coach.
The most important things to consider are the things that can't be reasonably changed.
We decided early on the following things were important to us:
1. Road master Series S chassis for strength and stabilityFREIGHTLINER/POWERGLIDE/SPARTAN ARE GREAT & NOT ALWAYS COACH SPECIFIC
2. 40' length PREFER THIS LENGTH ALSO
3. Tag axle NOT GENERALLY POSSIBLE WITH A 40 FOOTER... I'M FINE WITH A 40
4. AquaHot I OPT OUT ON AQUAHOT, VERY $$$... PROPANE IS CHEAPER,RUNS CLEAN AND MY GAS HEATERS ARE QUIET.
6. Front living area then galley, bath, bedroom
7. Combo washer/dryer NOT A COMBO... A STACKABLE WASHER CLEANS BETTER AND DRYER DRYS FASTER... WORTH THE SPACE TAKEN
8. Jake brake rather than exhaust brake WOULD NOT LET THAT SWAY ME. WE TRAVEL ALL OVER AND THE EXHAUST IS NEVER AN ISSUE. JAKE IS OVER HYPED IN M-O
Good luck in your research.
And Tiffin ia ALWAYS on the top of my list. Most of the coaches mentioned are orphan... I can always get parts from Tiffin. JMO