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kokomos
07-17-2009, 12:03 AM
Im thinking about buying an older model Class C motor home for about 5000 - 7000 in good conditon. Should I do that or be looking at travel trailers, another problem there is we dont have anything to pull it with right now or know how to back a trailer in. We dont tent camp but we do enjoy short trips to state parks, or the beach and if we get one Ill finaly get to check out Ft Wilderness .
Wanda

kaguilbeau
07-17-2009, 06:54 AM
I'm no expert here - but I'll offer my opinion:)

My sister-in-law spent 10,000 on an older motorhome. They began having trouble with it to the point that they were afraid to drive it anywhere. It has now become a permanent hunting camp, and they have purchased a newer motorhome in the 35,000 range.

Have you considered a pop-up or hybrid trailer. You still might have to buy a different vehicle or for a pop-up just add a hitch to what you currently have. We first camped in a pop-up and then moved to a travel trailer as the kids got bigger. Not that they are out of the house (for the most part) I actually find myself thinking about a pop-up again.

Good luck in whatever you decide.:thumbsup2

dfchelbay
07-17-2009, 07:19 AM
We have a motorhome...Class A. If we had to do it all over again, I think we would go with a travel trailer instead of a motorhome. We had to tow our motorhome a few years ago and it cost $950.00. With the cost of fuel on the rise again, it is more cost effective to have a trailer. If you ever want to leave your campsite, you will need a car anyway. Your tow vehicle can be your everyday vehicle...can't really use a motorhome as an everyday vehicle. Don't have to worry about frequently starting a travel trailer when in storage either like you have to with a Class C.

These are just my opinions, based on my personal motorhome travels. Good luck.

stacktester
07-17-2009, 08:13 AM
Buying an older moho IMO is a recipe for disaster. I've seen so many on here that have had to replace parts and other major items. The one's with low mileage are probably even worse because they have sat a lot. Engines were not built to sit. Internal parts of the drivetrain crack and rust just sitting.

As the pp stated, look for a small trailer before jumping in head first with a Class A. I do almost all my own repairs if something breaks. If I had a driveable I don't think I could do anything to the motor or trans. If you can afford newer and would use it a lot that's the only way I'd suggest a motorhome to you.

chilipyro
07-17-2009, 08:15 AM
$5-7K seems like a pretty good deal for a Class C in good condition. You'll have a hard time finding a travel trailer (plus something to tow it with) in that price range. For that price, you could get a pop-up and might be able to tow with the car you already have, but I think you will find the comfort and easy of camping with a Class C more to your liking.

As others have said, one problem with a motor home is that you don't have a driving car with you, once you set up camp - unless you either tow one along behind you or drive it separately. Towing a car has fewer learning challenges than towing a travel trailer though. When you get to the camp site, you unhitch your car - so you might never need to learn how to back up while towing (though it is not that hard to learn with a travel trailer). At Disney, you might not need to have a car with you - rent a golf cart and you have all the transportation you need for your stay.

We tow a large (35') travel trailer, because travel trailers have the best floor plans for larger (2 adults + 3 kids) families. With a motor home, most floor plans have you making up a couch and/or dinette every stop (sometimes every night) so that the kids have a place to sleep. After camping in a popup and a hybrid, we are so happy to be done with the bed setup part of our camping routine. If it were just the two of us, I might be tempted to go with a motorhome of some sort though.

vick
07-17-2009, 09:34 AM
We had a class C and I would never want another one. We never had any problems with it, but they ride rougher than most Class A's and don't have as much living space. Ours was a 31 foot but still seemed cramped. The 27 foot TT we started out with was so much more roomier than the class C. The only thing I miss is the bathroom when traveling! If there is only 2 of you, you might like it.
Most people have no experience backing when they get theit first trailers, so don't let that stop you. Trying a pop up is a good idea to start out with.

ftwildernessguy
07-17-2009, 09:42 AM
A significant number of campers start with pop ups and gradually upgrade throughout their camping career. I like the idea of being able to use my tow vehicle when I get to a campground. Like Donnie said, I like being able to do a lot of the repairs on my TT myself and like not having to worry about the engine and drivetrain not deteriorating from lack of use, since I use my truck every week. To me, a motorhome is just one more vehicle to worry about with routine maintenance, inspections, etc.

CarolinaBlue
07-17-2009, 09:57 AM
We had a class C and I would never want another one. We never had any problems with it, but they ride rougher than most Class A's and don't have as much living space. Ours was a 31 foot but still seemed cramped. .

I have to agree with this. We started with a pop-up 3 years ago. It was great, but after a year, my husband had grown tired of it. It is a lot of work to set one up. So, we traded for a 1987 class C. We've had it for 2 years, no problems other than lack of storage and space for 2 adults and 2 adult-size teens. So, we are about to buy a hybrid. It's not as long as the class C, but there is sooooooooo much more space to move around inside and lots more storage. Plus, we don't have to worry with filling up that gas tank in the motorhome. When we camp with the class C, we have to fill up that tank (sometimes more than once, depending on how far we're traveling) and we have to fill up the Jeep that we are towing behind us. I know that I'll miss the bathroom while we're traveling (that did come in handy a couple of times). I would go with a pop-up or a travel trailer, preferrably a hybrid. Don't worry about backing in to a site. My husband still can't get it right the first time and he has a camera on the back!:laughing:

auntie
07-17-2009, 10:23 AM
With an older unit, you're going to have issues. These things aren't designed to last forever. Then when there's a motor involved you have even more to concern yourself with. Unless you really know the history and the people who used the unit, you may be in for a lot of headaches.
I love motor homes.:lovestruc Would LOVE to have one. Only it would be a strain financially for us to maintain one. That would take all the fun out of it. I'm waiting for Lotto...:rolleyes1
I'm with Jim, I use our tow vehicle as an everyday vehicle. I'm due for a new truck..and even that's taking on more than I'd like given the economy. Hopefully within the next year we'll be able to swing that. I also would want the convenience of having a vehicle when on site. That would mean towing a car. If I'm gonna do that may as well stick with the travel trailer.

CindyT
07-17-2009, 10:24 AM
Another vote for the TT. You will have more room, you can disconnect and use your tow vehicle to go places, and not have the worry of engine trouble with the motorhome. You might look into hybrids, they are light weight and roomy, often you can tow with what you have, or at least you won't have to buy a big honkin' truck.

RocklandRVers
07-17-2009, 10:27 AM
My in laws owned a Class C when my wife and I were first married. At first they were gung ho but it was too big for them to drive comfortably so it sat. In fact my wife and I borrowed it more often than they took it out. Eventually they sold it because of leaks and other problems due to non-use. After several years we decided to get our own and looked at everything from pop ups to top of the line class A's. What we settled on was a Class B Van Camper. Its smaller than a Class A or C and can fit in a regular parking space. We have used it, on occasions when our car is in the shop for example, to commute to work. We like it over a trailer or pop up for several reasons. First thing is the ease of set up. Just back in and plug into shore power, water and sewer and thats it. If you have ever arrived at a campground in a torrential rainstorm this ease of set up can really be appreciated. We also can store the RV easier at home. There was no room for a trailer AND tow rig in our driveway. Lastly we like to drive and then pull off to eat, rest a while, or stop for the night. Again we just pull over and relax without all the work of setting up a trailer

Kagoguen
07-17-2009, 02:52 PM
:) I have a large hybrid, weighs 5400lbs, takes me about 15 min. to pop out the beds and set up the RVQ, and I haul mine with a Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, which is designed to haul 7500lbs, they do make smaller ones, which can most likely be hauled with other mid-size suv's.:thumbsup2

BradyBz12
07-17-2009, 02:59 PM
We went with a hybrid in part because we could pull it with our current vehicle (8 cylinder Explorer with an extra tranny cooler). It's definitely less work to setup than a popup. DH handles the outside stuff once we're parked (leveling, etc.) and I tackle inside setup (beds, etc.) and we're usually good to go in 30 minutes or less (and that includes getting the dogs' crates and stuff all setup too). Plus it gives you all the amenities of most TTs. We have a 21' Kodiak (opens to about 30') and it easily fits DH and I and 3 border collies. :rolleyes:

It also has all the comforts of home (stove, oven, micro, full fridge with separate freezer) and a decent bathroom (sit down tub and shower). It's also got a fair amount of storage space.

As for towing, I do most of the driving and I find it very easy to pull. We once had a ginormous TT that we pulled with a Navigator, and I was very nervous even changing lanes with that behemoth. I barely know the hybrid is there. :thumbsup2

freshlybarked
07-17-2009, 03:10 PM
Wow. No votes for the Class C. I'll give you my vote. We started out with a small TT and hated towing it. We looked long and hard and luckily had a friend in the business who found us a great used 07 Class C. He knew what we wanted even if we didn't and we love it. Now we want a Class A, but with the economy and finances that's just not going to happen. For us it's a great alternative. We travel with two dogs and it's just the two of us so at 32' it's fine for about 7 to 10 days at a time. You do have added expenses, but if you don't have a tow vehicle you would have expenses there also. I don't thing you said how old the Class C was. I wouldn't go more than 4 years myself. If buying a TT, think about if you want to do dry camping (no electric). I don't think they have generators for the most part. Also make sure your tow vehicle is hefty enough. Good luck.

chilipyro
07-17-2009, 09:24 PM
My vote was to go for the class C - but only if the 'good condition' statement was accurate. You have to start somewhere, and $5-$7K is not a bad price range to do that. The 'right' setup is different for everyone. We went from pup to hybrid to TT in about a year and a half - all new campers (you can imagine the hit we took on depreciation :mad:).

Whatever you start with, it is a pretty sure bet that you won't end up there forever. I expect that, if you added it all up, we're into it for about $100K now (including loss from depreciation on two campers, tow vehicle, modifications to camper and tow vehicle, and gear). I think we have finally found where we want to be for the long haul, but there has been a great deal of trial and error to get there.

In my opinion, a Class C is not a bad place to start - especially if you can get into it for less than $10K. Of course, if the 'good condition' statement was not accurate, and this motorhome is more of a lemon, then prior advise is worth heeding.

Kagoguen
07-17-2009, 11:36 PM
:) As I previously posted, my vote would be for a TT. But my mom and her boyfriend picked up a 1988 Chevy class C Sprinter for $2500 last year, the owners kept records of all maintenance, wrote down the instructions on how to use the appliances and heaters, generator, etc. the only thing they had to replace was the water heater for about $400 with labor, so good deals are out there, you just have to look :thumbsup2

tlh0726
07-18-2009, 12:38 AM
On average, how long of a distance do you plan on driving each trip?
Will you mind riding in a truck for that length of time?
Have you taken a test drive in this class C?
If you have to purchase a tow vehicle, would you be better off taking that money along with the price of the trailer and searching for a different motorhome?



When we began our search in 2007, I realized that there was no way that the kids or I would be able to take more than an hour or two being bounced around in the truck. The kids had no way to recline the seat in the back, therefore no sleeping without their heads hanging in mid air to the side or me sitting between them holding the heads in place. Not my idea of great traveling. Even though we already had a tow vehicle the cost savings was not worth it.

We came across a 1994 Pace Arrow Vision (class A gas) that a local person was selling. Her husband passed away 2 years prior and she was finally talked into selling it by her daughter. We got the unit for a good price. They were the 2nd owner of the unit, it was well maintained. She just had it inspected, and a new roof coating put on (no leaks just maintance due to age)
However as others have stated motorhomes take upkeep. Within the following year and a half we put another 3700.00 into it (new batteries, new springs for the front end, oil change, fluids flushed, etc) and another 1200.00
to have the driver side power window fixed and the generator looked at.
During our adventures, we realized that without a slide the unit was a tight fit for us. Having to constantly make up or take down a bed was a major pain in the butt. Once the kids went to sleep there went out inside living space as well. So we agreed to start looking for another unit.
Went to the Hershey RV show last fall and both loved the SuperNova 6400 (Diesel class C with bunks) It could sleep 6 without touching the dinette or couch (what I wanted) 10 people if you did. We went to test drive it after the show and boy did we change our minds. It reminded me of being pulled up the first hill on an old wooden roller coaster. DD actually did the aaaaaaaaaaaaaa while riding in it. So back to the class A's we went.
Finally found a Diesel model with bunks that we liked. Sportscoach CrossCountry 385DS. We sold our older unit privately for twice as much as we were offered at the dealership but less than we had it listed for (it was listed below NADA values).
In all (including purchase price, taxes, tags, inspections, repairs) we lost about $8000.00 over the 2 years that we owned it. Could we have held out and gotten more, maybe. But we looked at it this way, it was a great learning experience for us. The couple that bought could not offer more than what they did. And we got our new one at 37% off list with alot of extras thrown in. So it kinda washed out in the end.


So my advice is
take your time,
make sure the floor plan is what you want,
and the ride is what you want.

As we were told, you want to buy your last one first. (save yourself alot of $$ in the end)

Good luck

disney4dan
07-18-2009, 08:26 AM
If deciding to go with a TT and tow vehicle, something worth considering would be whether a full size van or good sized SUV would fit your family needs better.
Due to various non-camping reasons, I have a double cab truck. The crew cab would have provided the option of reclining rear seats for more comfort for our kids, but I could not find one with the tow mirrors which were a must (I wanted OEM, not aftermarket) and the extra length of the DC with an 8 foot bed makes for a more stable tow vehicle.

There are a number of ultra-lite trailers and hybrids that are designed to be towed with an SUV or van, giving you more space in the tow vehicle for comfort during travel and to separate kids if they are at the age where they will bicker and fight. My parents tell me kids stop bickering and fighting in the car when they hit 30, so I think we are in for a few more years of "Are we there yet?" and "Stop touching me!" :mad:

kokomos
07-19-2009, 01:16 AM
Yall may have just talked me out of ever camping :eek: Guess I have alot to think about. Im going to an auction with my brother-in-law Tues. at least I can get a good look what the options are. Thanks for eveyones advice :goodvibes

Wanda

Shan-man
07-19-2009, 08:59 AM
Hey Wanda, I just wanted to throw in a little encouragement... we are all here because we LOVE the RVing lifestyle. It is so easy to be overwhelmed, but it also very easy to stumble blindly through the door. I submit that stumbling blindly into RVing is probably the way most of us got started, buying something that looked good without a lot of forethought or research. And now, with the benefit of hindsight, and perhaps a few RVs under our belts, realize how we might have better spent our money in the first place. But, the story you won't hear around here is that of all the folks who bought that first cheapo RV and decided RVing wasn't for them and sold it again and took a minimal financial hit. So reap what you want from the experiences of others, and make decisions based on your family's needs.

:santa:

tlh0726
07-19-2009, 10:17 PM
Shan-man is correct, base your decision on your family and their needs. What works for others may or may not work for you. (sorta like the use of strollers and age of kids on another thread :rolleyes1 )
It is a hard decision. And once you make it, you will question yourself if it was the right decision.

I do not regret getting the older motorhome, it was a great learning experience for us. We looked at newer motorhomes at the time but could not bring ourselves to spending the $$$$ and then finding out it was not something we wanted to do . It helped us realize what we actually wanted/needed in a motorhome . So spending the 8K over 2 years was well worth it, plus we made a lot of memories along the way.

If you go with an older unit, spend the money to have someone with knowledge go over the unit to look for any potential problems and test the appliances. It does not guarantee how long anything will last but it will guarantee that things were working at purchase.
Good luck.

Almost forgot,make sure you check the tires, from the reports I have read those are a major budget buster items.

musicmama
07-20-2009, 08:28 PM
That's what we have - an older 29' Class C that was in terrific condition and a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, DD is now 16 and the loft is too short for her liking, and it's not really convenient to stow the table at night. Plus, the need to drive an extra car or rent a car to play tourist has gotten 'old'. But it was (and still is) the best way we could have gotten into camping!

We had hoped to move up to a TT and tow vehicle late last year or early this year (got lots of great advice from the folks here) but DH totaled his car and a tow vehicle is out of the question for a few more years. :sad2: We looked at hybrids and smaller TTs, thinking that we could go the van route as a tow, but because we camp at Thanksgiving, we need a camper that can handle the cold and that we didn't feel cramped in. The hybrids just didn't seem to be that "warm". (I could be wrong, but that's what it felt like to us.)

Our Class C made it to the Fort just fine, although the gas mileage was a lot less than I'd planned. Like another poster said, mohomes do take upkeep. In the 5 years we've owned it, we've replaced 6 tires, several belts, the battery and now we've got to replace the hot water tank. :headache: Luckily, the cost has been minimal because the guys we camp with just love to work on stuff and are happy with cases of beer as payment!

What we'd get for the Class C would cover most of the TTs we like, but the cost of a tow vehicle is what's keeping us in what we have.

kokomos
07-20-2009, 11:35 PM
Ok , Im listening to all you diser's Im trading my van in this week on an Expedition. Then I will be looking for a very good price on a travel trailer. I will learn to back a trailer!!!!!!
Anyone have pictures of the insides all decorated with Disney stuff?
I need some ideas :goodvibes

tlh0726
07-21-2009, 08:59 AM
Best place to learn is a big empty parking lot BY YOURSELF


When we first got our 22 foot pontoon boat back in 2003, I hitched it up to the truck and went over to the local hardware store after hours on a Sunday (still daylight) and practiced backing it into parking spaces and even backing around the the curbed landscaped dividers between parking areas and entry/exit aisles (sorry not sure what you would actually call them)

Keeping Pulling forward and backing up. Pull forward and pick a spot a few spaces to either side, back the entire length of the lot, etc.
Having to stop, sit there, and figure it out when the trailer was not going the direction I wanted really helped me. I did not have to worry about hitting anything. If I got stuck at a weird angle, there was plenty of room to just swing wide, straighten out and try again. It is a real confidence booster.

by the end of the summer, I could back that thing down the ramp in one try. (whoever designed the way that ramp was angled from the road and the steepness:confused3- you would totally lose sight of the paved area it was like you were backing off a cliff:scared1:) Really made me feel good the day when I got to the bottom , jumped out to winch the boat up and one of the 2 guys sitting in a boat waiting their turn said to the other, Why can't you do that!!!

One more thing - Looking over your shoulder while backing and using your mirrors are totally opposite as to which way you turn the wheel.
To this day, I either have to do one or the other from start to finish or come to a total stop when switching from one to the another. (including backing our 4 wheeler and pull behind brush mower into the shed - I got that thing jack knifed so many times - so it is true what they say - the longer the trailer the easier it is to back it)

Kagoguen
07-21-2009, 11:42 AM
Best place to learn is a big empty parking lot BY YOURSELF


When we first got our 22 foot pontoon boat back in 2003, I hitched it up to the truck and went over to the local hardware store after hours on a Sunday (still daylight) and practiced backing it into parking spaces and even backing around the the curbed landscaped dividers between parking areas and entry/exit aisles (sorry not sure what you would actually call them)

Keeping Pulling forward and backing up. Pull forward and pick a spot a few spaces to either side, back the entire length of the lot, etc.
Having to stop, sit there, and figure it out when the trailer was not going the direction I wanted really helped me. I did not have to worry about hitting anything. If I got stuck at a weird angle, there was plenty of room to just swing wide, straighten out and try again. It is a real confidence booster.

by the end of the summer, I could back that thing down the ramp in one try. (whoever designed the way that ramp was angled from the road and the steepness:confused3- you would totally lose sight of the paved area it was like you were backing off a cliff:scared1:) Really made me feel good the day when I got to the bottom , jumped out to winch the boat up and one of the 2 guys sitting in a boat waiting their turn said to the other, Why can't you do that!!!

One more thing - Looking over your shoulder while backing and using your mirrors are totally opposite as to which way you turn the wheel.
To this day, I either have to do one or the other from start to finish or come to a total stop when switching from one to the another. (including backing our 4 wheeler and pull behind brush mower into the shed - I got that thing jack knifed so many times - so it is true what they say - the longer the trailer the easier it is to back it)
:)Excellent advise, when we bought our TT that's exactly what the dealership told us to do to get practice :thumbsup2