Thanks for the great info everyone. eBay is where I found the Hurricane, and I'm still browsing the ads. Daily I check eBay, Craigslist and rvtrader.com. I appreciate all the information about the Hurricanes. I can believe that they function just as well as higher end units, but I think I may pass on this one. There are lots to choose from right now as many of you have pointed out.
I'm off today to take a look at a 99 Coachmen Catalina DP.
We bought a new 2007 Hurricane 34B (bunkbeds, 3 slides) in January, 2008. We have traveled 30,000 miles in it and pulled a dinghy behind it about 27,000 miles. When we bought the unit Four Winds was giving a 2 year warranty on everything in the motorhome and Ford gave the standard 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. I did buy and extended warranty that has paid for itself.
There were some problems (like any new motorhome). The company was very supportive and took care of everything in a timely manner.
I bought the unit through the internet from a dealer about 10 hours away. Local motorhome dealers have been supportive and Four Winds worked with the dealer to my safisfaction.
We continue to look at other units at RV shows but have yet to find anything we like better than what we have. I just don't see any great difference in quality between the other brands that are priced comparably.
For us the Hurricane has been a good motorhome with a good floorplan that is now being mimicked by other brands
2007 Four Winds Hurricane 34B
2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser turbo, convertible
retired and irresponsible
I have a 2001 29D Hurricane (and yes, we specifically did not want any slide outs). It has the same underpinnings as any other gaser, and due to it's lower weight, it gets a little better gas mileage. Last year i took part of the bedroom apart for some update work, and my friend with his Winnebago did similar work to his. We could not find any major quality differences between the two vehicles once we went a little deeper under the skin.
I would make the same purchase again! The left over money is better invested in extra gas to get around with the thing!
Hurricane was the price-leader series of the Four Winds brand; the Four Winds brand was the price-leader brand at Thor. That tells me where Thor put it, but they also priced it comparably to the Daybreak series in their Damon brand.
If that means low-end to you, then it is low-end. But low price points do not necessarily mean low quality, they can mean high quality with low content (no luxuries, no cost added for appearances only: 1980's base level Toyota Corolla, for example).
When I was looking at new RVs in 2004 and 2005, per my inspection of construction methods and finishing details, I considered the Hurricane to be of higher quality than comparably priced A gassers in other brands, notably Coachmen's Mirada and Damon's Daybreak. But I chose to pay substantially more for a C with better basic construction (my opinion) and more content (slideouts, heat pump, furnishings and trim materials).
Construction methods at Winnebago, Fleetwood, and FourWinds were substantially different when the motorhomes you've listed were made. What was better is probably subjective enough that if you are really concerned about quality you need to educate yourself about RV construction and decide what is your personal threshold for structural integrity.
Fit and finish are another issue you have to judge by inspection, and are totally separate from materials and furnishing choices like "all solid wood cabinets, solid surface counters, stainless sinks and faucets, etc" which many people confuse with quality. The Discovery is a mid-priced diesel pusher, the Adventurer was top-of-the-line in gassers at Winnebago, both will be fitted out more luxuriously than a low-price-point gasser like the Hurricane.
You have a lot of things to sort out, because you are looking at two completely different types of RV (diesel pusher, A gasser) and at models built to three different price points.
A Winnebago comparable to a Discovery would be a Journey, their diesel pusher on a similar weight chassis. FourWinds did not make anything in that category, Mandalay was the competing brand from Thor.
At the level of the Adventurer, the competing Fleetwood might have been a Southwind (but not the lower cost Storm) or Bounder. Thor targeted that price point with the Damon Intruder.
At the level of the Hurricane, the Fleetwood you would compare might be the Terra/Fiesta. Winnebago did not come down to that price point, their more expensive basic construction would not let them. The closest to the same trim level and Hurricane would be the Brave, which later became the Sightseer with some downgrade of trim (Warrior filled that slot from time to time in the past).
If you are looking for something like a Hurricane, but with slightly fancier trim, the FourWinds line was the Windsport, same construction, same floorplans, nicer fittings and trim.
I think the Hurricane is still fantastic value for the money, buying function rather than paying extra for some flash, but I would still pay the extra for Winnebago construction.
Thanks for the great information. As I have been looking at a lot of different models online its nice to see the breakdown between FourWinds, Fleetwood and Winnebago.
I wasn't necessarily looking for fancy as I'm really more of "as long as its functional" kind of guy. The only concern I had with the Hurricane was how well the lesser expensive parts hold up, especially with a 10+ year old unit. I looked at a Coachmen Catalina DP yesterday that was also a 1999 and it was in rough shape. I know a lot of that comes down to how the unit is cared for over the years but this had problems like seals in the shower corners pulled away, which leads me to think water damage behind. The plastic parts, like the shower, just seemed to be cheap to me. There was a 1999 Discovery next to it that I looked at and just seemed to be a little higher quality. Of course the Discovery was also $13k more than the Coachmen.
We just purchased the 2001 Winnebago Adventurer 35U with just under 30,000 miles for the $31 price. Because it is a 310 hp with 4 speed trans it will NOT get as good mpg as the newer ones with the larger engine and 5 speed trans. The rear end ratio is 500+ so that alone tells you the gas mpg is not going to be good.
We were pulling a loa 33 ft travel trailer with a 1 ton van and it only got 6 to 7.2 mpg too. Just can't jack rabbit these older MH off the line or they will suck the gasoline.
I also like the rep of a winnebago and they are still in business which now a days is a good sign.
Jeeper I came from NC to near Bangor MA to get my current DP-----it was the most expensive you could buy when new and I got it for about $200,000 less than the new price. But I had the cash and he was where he couldn't even get someone to come and look-----I still stalk Craigs list, ebay, racingjunk, etc and there are lots of high end ones out there. Be patient--and ready.
I've been looking for my first perfect Class A. My current budget of less than $40k, puts me to units that are about 10 years old. Recently I found a classified ad for a 2000 Fourwinds Hurricane 33SL with the Ford V10 that seems thousands below what comparable units are selling for. After looking at the pictures, it seems to me that its built like a cheap mobile home. By that I mean low end one piece plastic sinks, faucets, showers, etc. Having lived in a cheap mobile home I'm warey of getting into the same low quality parts.
I missed a great deal on a 1999 Discovery 36T dp for $24k. The day I decided to pull the trigger was the day after the dealer took a deposit on it. There's another one close by but its $13k more for the exact same configuration, with similar mileage.
I am taking a 2 week trip this summer around the east, Maine to Florida via Illinois. I will be towing a car on a dolly. Other times I'm planning a number of weekend trips to close campgrounds (200 miles or less). With current prices of gas and diesel, I estimate a gas unit will run be about .45c/mile (based on 8 mpg and gas at $3.60) and a diesel will be about .35-.42c/mile (based on 10-12mpg at $4.25). I'm not in a position to leave all behind and just spend my days on the open road (yet) so the diesel isn't a neccessity, just a "would like to have". I do spend all day on the open road at the wheel of an 18 wheeler, and my car is also a diesel, so I'm very familiar with the mechanicals of one. I know I haven't factored in regular maintenance because I know the servicing of a diesel is more money, but you don't have to do them as often, so it all comes out in the wash.
Hope I'm not rambling too much. What I would find interesting is perhaps a list of the major models ranked by quality. The Discovery I looked at seemed very nice with all solid wood cabinets, solid surface counters, stainless sinks and faucets, etc. I'm also looking at a 2001 Winnebago Adventurer 35U with the V10 for similar money. Are both units comparable fit and finish wise? Perhaps I'm just getting into personal preference here where there's no right answer. Most 1999-2001s with 50k miles seem to fall into my price range. It does seem to me that the Discovery with the ISB might be an entry level DP, but it was still nice. The Hurricane is $12k less than the Winnebago for a similar floorplan (1 slide instead of 2), but I don't want to sacrifice quality for money.
WOW, you certainly can get a used coach for less than $40K. Last summer we purchased a 2002 31' Fleetwood with only 15k miles for $18,000.00. This coach is a workhorse with 8.1 ltr Chevy engine.
Now, I don't have any slides. We didn't want any so it's just what we were looking for. I would say the slide would add less than $3K to the value of the used coach anyway.
Our coach has many upgrades. It came with brand new tires all around and a brand new tow dolly included in the $18,000.00 price.
I hate the terms "Entry Level" or "Lower End" when talking about a class A MH. None of them are cheap by any means when buying a brand new one. They all get you from "A" to "B" and have creature comforts built in.
To me "Entry Level" is a tent or a sleeping bag. When you see ANY motor home tooling down the highway pulling a toad or enclosed trailer how can anyone call that "Entry Level" or "Lower End"?
I paid cash for our coach. Dolled out dead Presidents. I have the title. I would guess that over 80% of those Million Dollar monsters on the highway have payments that would knock your socks off. If that's what "HIGH END" means I will gladly call my coach a "Paid for Low End, Entry Level" tent on wheels.