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Buying a Motorhome: Where to Start?

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Hello, I am new here and new to the idea of a Class A motorhome. Married almost 48 years (ages 66 and 67), we have had every kind of camper, starting with a tent, then popup, have owned travel trailers and fifth wheels, as well as a couple of C class. We never kept any of them for extremely long periods of time, because we were still working and just couldn't seem to find time to use it "enough." At that time, we wanted a "camper."

We have always said we would be interested in a motorhome when we are both retired. That is about to happen, and so we are in the market for a motorhome.

We have a large home, and the motorhome will not replace our house. Our son and family just moved from us (MO) to Washington state, so we now have even more motivation for those road trips we love. All that to say, we will be traveling in it a lot but also will want to "live" in it for short periods of time (not so much "camping" at this point in time).

We have just begun the research process and have about settled on a size (something we would feel comfortable driving, being new to this, and not wanting to start off towing a vehicle)--probably around 32 to 34 feet. We don't even know whether we should go gas or diesel. We will definitely want new, not used.

I realize that a lot of decisions would be based on personal preference, but I would love to receive input. We have looked at several, and from what we have seen (have not looked at EVERYTHING out there), we are impressed with the Tiffin Allegro. But if anyone would take the time to give us some considerations, we would really appreciate it.

Russell & Barbara

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Tiffin makes a fine MH. I would not be disappointed with them. When we were looking we concentrated on Tiffin, Newmar and Winnie, all DP.

We however are living FT in our coach, having sold our home. We wanted a little more room than a low to mid 30 footer would give us, plus we are pulling a toad and felt better with the added torque available from a diesel motor. However, the annual maintenance tends to be higher with diesel.

We anticipated a Tiffin Allegro Bus when our present coach was pointed out to us by our dealer. We could not have afforded our coach new, but used put it within our range and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Russell and Barbara, Welcome to FMCA Group.

The starting point for my wife and I has always been making a list of items we would like to have in a coach and prioritize them

Second, how do we plan to use the coach and will it fit into the way we like to travel.

Third, where do we want to go and will the coach allow us to stay in the campgrounds in the areas we want to visit.

Forth, do we want to pull a toad (will we need to and have one more vehicle to maintain) or just rent a car, if we will be staying for a week or should we buy a coach that will be easy to drive just about anywhere.

Will we be staying in an area for an extended stay, Then do we need to consider a coach that can tow a car.

You will notice that our first consideration is far from an make or model coach. That kind of comes in to the picture as our lists get prioritized.OH and do not forget things like hobby's.

Then we can start looking for the amenities, floor plans and the layout of the interior.

Everything you can think of is on the table and use your prior travels and experiences to help in the choice.


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You express a decision that you definitely want a new coach. I suggest that you should consider a used coach. This is a big investment and without any experience, you are putting a large amount of money into something that you may find doesn't suit you. We purchased a used coach and traveled in it for 2 1/2 years then went out and purchased a new coach that is now 10 years old and we are still very happy with our purchase.

You indicate that you want a size that you will feel comfortable driving. After using a coach for a while you may decide that the coach you selected is too small for your needs and by that time, you may realize that you can handle a larger vehicle safely with confidence. Or, you my decide what you have selected doesn't work for you and you need something smaller. You can test drive motor homes, just like you test drive a car. You can get an idea of what a specific motor home feels like but it won't give you the whole experience. You are unlikely to get the feel of a fully loaded motor home driving up and down mountains in a short test drive. After you have lived in the motor home for a few weeks or a few months you will know if the size is right for you.

Be open to the possibility that your travel needs may require taking a toad with you. Without a toad, you have to pick up stakes and drive to the grocery store in your motor home, not an easy process. We started out with a car on a tow dolly and within a year purchased a vehicle we could tow with all four wheels on the ground. We find this very convenient and our travel needs definitely require a toad.

Everyone has a different style of travel and each has to find what is right for them. DickandLois have good advice for where to start. If you have a chance to get to the FMCA Convention in Georgia next spring, or any of a number of other large motor home/RV shows around the country, you could get to see a wide variety of motor homes in one location. You could spend a lot of time trying to see a large variety of coaches one dealer at a time.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of being a FMCA member. There are so many good people in this organization, it would take a life time to get to meet them all. I did not see you list a Class,(type) B in your list of motorhomes. While I realize most of them come in the mid 25 ft. range, I would recommend you look at them just to satisfy your search. A very recent manufacturer of Class B's is Advanced-RV out of Willoughby, OH. They build a classy unit using a Mercedes Benz 3500 van. It is loaded with the very latest electronics, heated floor, electric bed, super long life batteries and just about everything else you would want to dry camp and not pull a toad. They cost a little more than your average Class B but as the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for".

Again, welcome aboard and join a chapter, get involved and you will never regret it!!


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Hello, Russel and Barbara!

Some things to consider when shopping are the sizes of the slideouts and the number of them. For our first motorhome, we bought an 8 year old 32ft Holiday Rambler. It had 2 slides. We were thrilled with it at first but after using it for 18 months, we both found things that we didn't like so much. I wanted a larger kitchen cooking prep area, my husband was exhausted after 3-4 hours in the gas coach with winds and big semis passing by, our shower was very small with low water pressure, etc.

So we started shopping online for RVs. We found a 3 year old 35 ft. Tiffin Allegro Bay Front Engine Diesel at a dealer near us and decided to go look at it. The first thing we noticed is that there are 2 slides in the main living area and what a difference it makes! The furniture is very comfortable. We've had it 2 years now. The front engine diesel gives us plenty of power for the eastern mountains we've traveled; no more sway from semis passing either. We are so happy with the Tiffin that we don't have any plans to trade any time soon.

I concur with TButler's recommendations. Possibly a slightly used RV would provide as much satisfaction with more $$ left in your pocket. There are many used that have very little use.

Also might recommend you checkout the classifieds at www.tiffinrvnetwork.com. You'll find lots of information from Tiffin owners also.

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