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 > Need advice: Shopping for a Class A...

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jcubeta

Burke, VA

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Posted: 08/09/18 10:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello everyone,

My apologies up front for asking something that’s probably been asked before, and for my wordiness.

My wife and I have decided that we want to make the leap from a travel trailer to a Class A gas motorhome. After spending a good bit of our recent cross-country trip ogling other people’s coaches, we’ve since spent a few weeks looking at manufacturers’ websites to at least get a basic idea of the models out there and types of floorplans we like.

However, as some of you have likely experienced at one point yourselves, this has become somewhat overwhelming. We have plans to visit a nearby dealer (a Camping World) this weekend to walk through some of the models on the lot. As I’m skeptical of sales reps in general, I’m not expecting them to be a wealth of unbiased knowledge.

So we are a way’s off from buying but, as we begin this adventure, I’d like some advice on how to shop smartly. Also, if we’re going to plunk down $100-150K on a coach, I want to buy something that I’m confident is quality.

As such, here are a few questions, some general and some specific:
  • Beyond “fit & finish” touches & furniture comfort, what sorts of things do we want to examine to determine quality? Are there specific questions we should ask about, say, a coach’s structure/frame, electrical, towing, etc?
  • Does anyone have opinions of Thor and Forest River coaches? We’ve seen a few of them at campgrounds that look nice from the outside, and one friendly RVer gave us the nickel tour of their Thor Challenger which was beautiful (from our 10 minutes inside), but many of the reviews on RVT.com of Thor and Forest River have scared me a little, in that many people talk of constant problems with these brands.
  • On the opposite end of that, I’ve seen consistently good reviews of Tiffen, Newmark, and Winnebago coaches – should I just stick with these brands?
  • Does anyone have comments on the legitimacy of reviews found on RVT.com? Are there other sites you recommend to check out?
  • Is RVTrader a good place to try to sell our travel trailer? Or is it more hassle than it’s worth and we should just trade it?
  • Is there an obvious benefit to buying brand new or is buying slightly used a better way to go? Also, if buying used, is buying from a private seller better or worse than from a dealer?
  • Is it reasonable to consider traveling a long distance to buy from a reputable dealer (i.e. flying to a city to pick up the coach)?


I know that's a lot of questions. Any answers would be very appreciated.

Thank you for your time!
James

2gypsies

Enjoying the West!

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Posted: 08/09/18 11:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One thing you might want to do is to Google for Thor/Forest River owner's forums for some of your mfg-specific questions. IRV2.com has owner's forums. Good luck in your search. You'll love a Class A!


Full-Timed for 16 Years
.... Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 40' 2004 Newmar Dutch Star Motorhome
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel


craig7h

Branson MO area

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Posted: 08/10/18 03:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First off I have a 2017 Thor ACE. For me the unit is fine I have had no major problems. Yes some loose screws, some wires needed tightening etc. I moved from a nice 5th wheel to the ACE and am happy I did.

Most sales people will not be able to answer your questions on frame, wiring that sort of thing. Look at how the kitchen drawers are made is a clue.

I think most brands have there set of problems. People will complain on the forums about their units. While most are happy with them. You very seldom will hear a post about how great my unit is.

As for trade I was never one to try and sell my units outright. If you have the time and the place to advertise you might make a little more selling yourself.


Craig
ACE 29.3 Class A

kerrlakeRoo

Va

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Posted: 08/10/18 04:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think you have answered a lot of your own questions just from reading reviews. Yeah the ratings may be slanted some because happy buyers are less motivated than the ticked off ones, but enough volume eventually shows a trend. In the price point you mentioned you are in range for Newmar, Tiffin, Winnie, and may want to add HR Vacationers and the Precept line from Jayco.
You may want to come down 95 a bit to Ashland Va at least to shop and peruse.
You have two CW affiliate stores McGeorge and another that is changing names, plus General RV, and Commonwealth RV which sells a lot of used units both consignment and repo.
Watch carefully for the price points, Mc George is pretty Fee heavy in their sales contracts, likely around $4000 in add ons and fees.

If you need to price compare, check
www.rv007.com
They are in Danville Va and Myrtle Beach SC, so they may be farther than you want to go just to look but they price their rigs out the door so the price you see is their actual final price, at least this will give you some reference points.
Happy Motorin

Dog Trainer

Richmond Mi.

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Posted: 08/10/18 04:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As an owner of 3 class A's my experience has been the best with my Newmar. Also have heard great reviews about Tiffin These mfg. make a good Gas coach as well as the DP models. I had a winnebago which was an alright coach and for many years I had an Airstream DP another good coach I had a Forest river TT product their service was excellent but there was some lack of quality there.
In the end you will have to live with and be happy with your purchase don't overlook the small stuf and the unseen. If you can go for a few factory tours of the builders that you are interested in. There is much more than fit and finish and gingerbread when you are on the rtoad and dealing with things.
If you buy a gasser with the F53 chassis set aside an additional $2 grand to tame the ride.


2016 Newmar Baystar 3401
2011 HHR Toad
Daktari & Lydia Cavalier King Charles , Annie get your guns, our English setter (fur Bearing Children)

jplante4

Cape Cod

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Posted: 08/10/18 05:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you're going to $150k, skip Thor and FR. It's a buyer's market right now, with inventory on the lots and units backed up on the transporter's lots in Indiana. Look at coaches in the 150-200 range and negotiate to under 150.

Buying new, be prepared to spend some time at the dealer in warranty repairs. I would say the selection of the dealer is most important. Research the service department reviews here.

Go with Craig's List to sell your TT. Just don't answer any emails from guys on offshore drilling rigs offering to buy "the unit" sight unseen for their father and dealing only through PayPal. This is a scam.


Jerry & Jeanne
1996 Safari Sahara 3530 - 'White Tiger'
CAT 3126/Allison 6 speed
2014 Equinox AWD / Blue Ox


WAFlowers

Clearwater, FL

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Posted: 08/10/18 05:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Find a good used Tiffin with complete service records. Pay to have it professionally inspected. You will end up with one of the best available at a bargain price!


Bill and Willemina Flowers
George, Sammy and Teddy (the dogpack)
2008 Tiffin Phaeton 40QSH
2005 Keystone Monata 3400rl (5/21/11 to 9/9/17)
(Was in a 2000 Coachmen Catalina Sport 220RK)


garyemunson

Reno, Nevada

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Posted: 08/10/18 05:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Once you have decided on what you like, go to RVtrader.com and search there. We saved 25K over what close by dealers wanted for the same coach. If you have to travel to get it, just consider that your first camping trip in your new toy.

jplante4

Cape Cod

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Posted: 08/10/18 05:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

garyemunson wrote:

If you have to travel to get it, just consider that your first camping trip in your new toy.


I would recommend against this in a new rig. They factories are turning out rigs so fast that they're counting on the dealers to complete the build. There are a lot of warranty issues that will turn a camping trip into a nightmare.

The local CW is backed up on warranty issues until into October. The RV service center I work at is doing some of the work because they have a lot of unhappy customers. These people bought a brand new camper and expected to make a trip to Yellowstone the next week. Instead the camper sits unused waiting for CW to get to them.

I would make my first camping trip in the driveway.

2chiefsRus

USA Somewhere

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Posted: 08/10/18 05:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cargo carrying capacity is one thing I would want to know for sure especially on a gas coach. We found out the hard way on our first Class A Gas coach that it had plenty of ccc EXCEPT it was really only available on the rear axle. After we had bought it and learned enough to know we needed to have it weighed on each corner, then we learned that nearly the entire capacity of the front axle was taken up by the weight of the engine. So we had a big pass through storage area that we could not put much weight in.

Private sale vs dealer sale - better is subjective; better price will most likely come from a private sale but dealer sale will likely be easier in that you would be able to do one deal, trading in the tt and getting your motorhome but that ease will be more expensive. It really depends upon how much you are willing to pay for less stress and effort on your part.

If you have the time, go to a big rv show like Hersey. Close the doors and windows and sit down in lots of units, and then listen - how much noise do you hear from the people outside? Does it sound solid when you close the door? open and close drawers, window coverings, etc.

You also didn't mention how you are going to use the coach but you mention a cross country trip. Are you going to be full time or one big one month trip a year? or maybe 3 months at a time and then sitting for several months unused. That all factors into your decision.

I'll just throw in one more thing - for that price range you could buy a good quality used diesel coach. one of the reasons I prefer diesel is the ability to pull into a truck stop lane instead of having to squeeze into gas stations especially while towing a toad. There are lots of other reasons but it really depends upon how, where and how often you use your coach whether those other reasons will apply to you.


Dave & Kathy
2007 Monaco Knight 40PDQ towing 2018 Ford F-150 & 2017 Harley Trike
Fulltime since October 2007
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