We are planning on purchasing a Class C here in January during the shows in Indiana. We have moved up from a Colman Pop-up, Rockwood TT, now an Outback TT. We want to be able to take friends (6 people total) and travel in more convenience with the family. We like the flexibility the Truck/TT combo provides, so we are planning on towing something (yet to be purchased, but will be the teenager's daily driver.) We are looking at a 32+ ft unit with possible bunkhouse or other accomodations for sleeping 6 without having to set-up and tear down sofas and dinettes every night.
So, here are a few questions I would love some input on:
1. new E450 Chassis vs. 2007/08 Jayco 5500 Kodiak Chassis - maintenance, wear and tear, etc.
2. Towing out west (mountains) with E450 chassis and 4,000 toad?
3. maintenance costs on diesel vs. the E450 chassis?
4. Recommendations on brands? I was not a fan of the quality of our Rockwood, also made by Forest River (as is the Sunseeker). Can someone rank the following in quality on regular Class C units (not super Cs) - Jayco, Forest River, Thor, Coachman, Fleetwood.
5. Any experience with the RVDirect (or other direct) purchasing methods vs. from dealers at shows?
6. We would like to have auto-levelers on the C. Any one put on aftermarket kits? any brand preference?
Used to have a C but that was a long time ago, and we loved it for our needs then. Addressing the one question I feel comfortable answering, you should have no problem with a C and a E450 towing a 4k toad over the mountains out here in the west. This months FMCA magazine has the new 2013 toad guide. There are plenty of nice choices under 4K, same with previous years. My Saturn Vue is 3200lbs. On the steepest longest grades don't expect to travel at highway speed, you will probably be more comfortable at 45 to 50 mph. I sincerely recommend an auxilary braking system for the toad...whether a box like BrakeBuddy or surge like ReadyBrake, or any of the other brands offered, the mountains out west become much more comfortable to cross with assisted braking.
We purchased our last two motorhomes at RV shows. Don't let the salesman rush you. Any deal that expires today will probably be there tomorrow. It is never "the last RV like it available". Anything the salesman promises you GET IN WRITING on the contract.
I'll just add that IMHO, when you decide on which MH you like, go to a local dealership BEFORE the RV show and get some prices so you have some ammunition. Sadly show prices are NOT always the lowest price.
Btw, I am partial to Four Winds, E450, V10. Pulls a toad like nobody's business and are built very sound. Also be sure to check the drawers and cabinets, look for ones made of solid wood. Many are 'not' and use particle board.
The average 31 ft C sleeps 8. 2 in the cab over, 2 on the coach, 2 on the bed and if necessary 2 kids on the opened dinette.
Good Luck. You will wonder why you waited so long to go Class C!
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us".
I do not think there is a comparison between a Kodiak and a E450 chassis.
The C5500 chassis is built like a truck. Tows well within it load limit of 26,000 lbs. The Duramax/Allison power train has a good record. Best option on them is exhaust brake if you are going into the mountains. Easy maintenance and 15,000 miles oil changes. Dealers charge a bundle to service the engine. But if you do the maintenance yourself it does not cost much. Mine has 70,000 miles and is running as good as it did the day I bought it. Not to many complaints from the Jayco, Gulf Steam and Four Winds group. I would stick with Seneca, Endura and Chateau models of each brand. Bigfoot is a nice coach but only put a 50 gallon tank while the others have 80 gallon tanks. There are also some Weekend Warrior Super C's out there.
Inspect them all. Doing some research you will find some good deals on Super C's.
A Super C will already had a lot of depreciation in its sale price. A new E450 will have its largest depreciation the minute you take possession.
Good luck with your search.
We just moved from a 87 Class A 33' Allegro to a 2003 Four Winds Chateau 26'(on 1/2/13)48K miles. It has the 3500 Chevy chassis and the 8.1 Vortec engine. We have spent almost 1 year looking for a smaller unit to allow us to get into any National Park. Since you have owned previous RV's you will have about 80% more knowledge then most salespersons will have on what to look for in a unit. I pointed out many items for our salesperson to know and understand. The E450 chassis should provide you with plenty of power and towing capacity.
If you are looking at 2007 or 2008 why are you looking at Class C? We thought about a 36' Class A range with a slideout with bunks. Seen a few in the Winnebago line, just couldn't afford them. Also with sleeping 6 in a Class C you will need to have a living room slide with a hide-a-bed couch and no entertainment center above cab.
If you have cash you can get a big bang for your buck. Ours was listed for $18,999 and we paid $12,200 Cash + tax and license from a dealer. So take your time and be ready to spring.
As for quality. I liked Winnebago, Coachman, and Jayco. There were a few Rockwoods I like, but couldn't find the price range I wanted to pay. Make sure the layout works for you more so then anything else. Because if it doesn't you will be unhappy. Also make sure the Wife likes it even more.
Six or eight people traveling or camped in the same RV sounds OK for a weekend, not our idea of relaxation unless you are all really compatible. For your long term enjoyment make sure it has an island bed with access on both sides in a rear bedroom for the adult owners. The feeling of too much togetherness will be less if young folks sleep in a tent whenever practicable. Just my opinion.
Having visitors drive up and meet you is another option.
* This post was
edited 01/05/13 08:36am by Bordercollie *
We purchased our current motorhome from Rvdirect and didn't have any real problems. Motorhome was ordered from Jayco and it took longer than we were originally told it would. But I can't blame that on Rvdirect. I was given some inaccurate information about features of the motorhome but nothing of consequence. I would buy from them again if they had what I want. It was a much less pressured experience versus most shows.