Jun 15, 2020 at 9:15 am #3653096
Your points 1, 2, and 3 are valid Ian. Class As are really more suited to RV parks.
Although you can find some places. Like Praire Creek Redwood state park – the first loop is class A friendly.
You have to have your spidey sense activated and don’t drive into a situation that doesn’t fit. Hard to turn around if you start down an inappropriate road.
Brenda drove the class C. Once, she dropped my off in Eugene. I took the bus home and went back to work. She drove to the coast and spent another week out before driving home. I was a bit anxious : )
Brenda drove the class A. For about 1/4 mile before pulling off to the side and let me take back over. It’s like a driving a bucking bronco. It takes a while to get used to, especially curvy roads downhill. I think if I got a sway bar or something it would be better. Basically, just go slow and ignore the line of people behind you honking because you’re going too slow. Diesels are better – for those with an extra $100K or two.
(Actually I exaggerate, they don’t honk their horns, just quietly fume. I pull over at next opportunity).
Those tires are expensive by the way. And Nick says I have to replace them every 6 years. I’m a year overdue. There’s a Les Schwab right next door to the storage place that will be my first stop.Jun 15, 2020 at 10:18 am #3653106
I gather that I should budget about $300 per tire and the RVs I’m looking at all have six wheels. Tread depth and tire age are high on my list of things to inspect.
After reading up on it, I’m looking for a 1999 and newer Ford F53 chassis. Most of the maintenance items seem pretty doable for a DIYer and the suspension and steering upgrades like steering stabilizer, Bilstein shocks, upgraded sway bars, etc are all pretty simple. Everything else including oil changes and differential service are the same as our other vehicles, just on a larger scale.
Price wise, most F53 chassis Class A motor homes in the 1999-2005 range seem to fall around $12,000 and $25,000 and mileage is in the 15,000-60,000 range. Anything much above or below this price point seem to have issues or a delusional owner. I think this is a comfortable range for us to explore Class A life. If it doesn’t work out, the depreciation loss is acceptable versus buying a $250,000 rig new off the lot.
We’re finding quite a few contenders priced at $15,ooo. As long as they are mechanically sound and won’t need an engine or transmission overhaul, I’m comfortable enough with painting, installing new counter tops, and modernizing hardware so it doesn’t look like 1985 vomited all over the inside.
The V10 has a known issue with blowing out spark plugs but there’s a workable solution for it. I don’t remember the cost but we had a work vehicle with the V10 that had this problem. I seem to remember that the taxpayers paid about $2000-$3000 for it to be repaired. I’d have to see what the quote would come in at but I’d be inclined to have the insert professionally installed, although it can be done DIY provided you can access the spark plugs.
It is possible to not eject a sparkplug but they have to be swapped out just right. I gather there’s zero room for error in the process and torque. A little too much or too little here or there can present a problem. I never thought I would pay someone to change my spark plugs but in this case, if I don’t have the motor retrofitted, I may pay someone who routinely work on these motors to swap them out.
We would definitely need to have one of our vehicles rigged up for towing. The Jeep would be easier but I’m inclined to have our RAV4 kitted out for this purpose, assuming there isn’t a technical reason as to why it’s not well suited for that purpose. Since we would not be able to take the motor home out on forestry roads, we would definitely want a reasonably capable vehicle with us to go out exploring with. What would be a REALLY sweet combination is having an AWD Toyota Sequoia as our towed vehicle and having GRTV turn it into a modern day Westi, but the minivan and conversion would cost more than the motor homes so this is mostly day dreaming.
I’ve heard horror stories of people getting their Class A stuck on wet grass. This is one of those scenarios where we would have to be extra vigilant in our campsite selection and route planning. From what I can tell, there isn’t a limited slip differential or locking differential conversion for this particular Dana axle differential.
We’re still in research mode but I think this is the direction we’re going to go.Jun 15, 2020 at 10:23 am #3653109Stephen MBPL Member
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
The F53 is a great chassis. We had a 2004 and it was decent, a 5 star tune dropped cruising RPM to about 2200ish and stopped it changing gear too early. What brands you looking at?
I would love to turn my Seqouia in to a Westi.
The Rav4 may need a drive shaft disconnect.Jun 15, 2020 at 10:37 am #3653113
So far we’ve seen a Georgie Boy Pursuit single slide and a Holiday Rambler dual slide that have the features and price tag we’re looking for. Of the two, I prefer the Holiday Rambler and I gather is generally well regarded in terms of quality.Jun 15, 2020 at 10:47 am #3653120idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
Does Washington State have lemon laws for RVs. I’ve read many states don’t.Jun 15, 2020 at 10:56 am #3653122
I’m not sure. Due to the age of what we’re shopping for, we assume we’re entering into an as is purchase and that we’ll have to deal with any issues that were overlooked during our inspection.
Each state is different but I know of at least one story where a family that bought a brand new RV with the intention of going full time. It had a leaking roof which required for the class A to be overhauled. The manufacturer has made the process extremely painful for them and AFAIK they’re still fighting them in court.
We’re not rich and I’m not going to pretend that $15,000 is an inconsequential amount of money, but we can survive a $15,000 hit if the RV were to die catastrophically due to a major mechanical issue or fire/water damage. Not being compensated for a $150,000+ RV that we intended to move into would be devastating for us.
My first preference would be to not go down that road and I intend to crawl all over any future purchase with a flashlight and look for evidence of damage and mechanical red flags.Jun 15, 2020 at 11:13 am #3653125
Looks like our 2013 can’t be flat towedJun 15, 2020 at 11:17 am #3653127Stephen MBPL Member
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
<p style=”text-align: left;”>That’s a shame it can’t be flat towed Ian.</p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I have read great things about older Holiday Ramber rvs.</p>
Its probably worth while paying for an inspection if you are really interested in it.Jun 15, 2020 at 11:35 am #3653135
I have a Triton V10. Our class C also had the same engine. I don’t know about the chassis, does V10 designate what type of chassis? Obviously, the class C had a much lower load capacity chassis than the class A.
I love those Triton V10s. Never had any problem. There was some sensor that went out in the first year but covered by warranty.
I think those upgrades you mentioned would be good. Might want to drive it first and see how it handles. Like I said, without them, if you drive slow it’s okay.Jun 15, 2020 at 11:51 am #3653139
I’ve learned that flat towed vehicles are referred to as dinghies. I’m still learning all the RV cool kid talk.
It’s a bummer indeed Stephen. The RAV4 has been one of the absolute best all around vehicles we’ve ever owned but I gather it isn’t suitable for flat towing or dolly towing.
Once we sell our boat I won’t have much need for the Tundra. As much as I love that truck, it’s a huge battle wagon and I’d like something smaller. I would definitely prefer something that’s AWD or 4WD. A used Jeep JKU would be high on the list.
I recently learned that the Jeep Liberty is 4WD which allows for the transfer case to be shifted into 4lo, and importantly for this conversation, neutral. That would be another vehicle we would consider because they are pretty affordable on the used market.
The Honda CRV is apparently flat towable. It’s pretty comparable to the RAV4 but I don’t know much about how it is set up mechanically as to why it can be flat towed. It’d be difficult to not go with this option due to the good fuel economy and AWD.
We are currently restoring an old Jeep Wrangler YJ that we could put into service immediately as our dinghy vehicle when we buy an RV so there wouldn’t be any need to rush the purchase. Worst case scenario we could have someone follow me in the RAV4 if we wanted to bring it instead of the Jeep.Jun 15, 2020 at 11:53 am #3653141
The F53 is a complete chassis that includes motor, transmission, axles, etc.
If I understand things correctly, the vintage motor homes we’re looking at have a four speed transmission but the newer ones have a six speed transmission.Jun 15, 2020 at 12:37 pm #3653148
I’m not feeling a lot of negotiating going on, Ian.Jun 15, 2020 at 1:25 pm #3653157
Lol show me an Earth Roamer for <$25,000 although that would be pretty sweetJun 15, 2020 at 2:14 pm #3653163
so, a F53 chassis has a Triton V10 engine on it?
they have made zillions of Triton V10s, so they have had plenty of time to perfect the design
We bought a 2013 Honda CRV so it could be flat towed, but never bothered hooking it up. That costs an extra several thousand bucks. 2013 was the last year Honda CRVs were flat towable
Have you found the tow guide by that RV magazine? They list which cars are flat towable.Jun 15, 2020 at 4:13 pm #3653191Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
That 8-wheel drive one: how many gallons per mile?
CheersJun 15, 2020 at 4:15 pm #3653192
Re F53, depends on the year. It used to be a V8, then the V10, and I believe they’re going back to a V8. We’re looking for something that is 1999 or newer and priced under $25k, which realistically puts us between 1999-2005 due to the price cap.Jun 15, 2020 at 4:22 pm #3653193
Roger, if you can afford an Earth Roamer, then you can afford to have them fly you in fuel and caviar when you run out of fuel every 73 miles.Jun 15, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3653201
my class A with V10, 33 feet, 8 or 9 MPG, 75 gallon tank
you need to take out a loan whenever you want to fill up tank
on a California trip it took more than $200 to fill itJun 15, 2020 at 5:34 pm #3653207
It seems that the trick is to spend more time parked than driving. From a cost perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense compared to staying in a hotel. As Stephen mentioned, if you enjoy the idea of being able to park your cabin on wheels next to a lake or wherever, it’s a nice optionJun 15, 2020 at 5:43 pm #3653208Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
>> fly you in fuel and caviar
CheersJun 16, 2020 at 3:45 am #3653269
It seems that the trick is to spend more time parked than driving. From a cost perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense compared to staying in a hotel. As Stephen mentioned, if you enjoy the idea of being able to park your cabin on wheels next to a lake or wherever, it’s a nice option
Out here in the Western US there are a lot of places you can camp free on NPS, USFS and BLM land. We used to do this a lot with our tent trailers, but a couple favorite places we can’t get our trailer and truck into now, due mostly to overhanging trees.
When you grow up and turn 62, you can buy a lifetime Interagency Senior Pass, which pretty much gives you 50% off campground fees in almost all NPS, USFS, and BLM properties. Plus you get into any National Park for free. Some of these parks charge up to $35 (for 7 days) just to drive in, before any camping fees. But one thing I have really seen in just the past two years is how crowded my old favorite little used campgrounds have become with retired baby boomers, which is one of the reasons we just bought a 4WD. So now we can get further away from the crowds. Three years ago we spent two weeks in a Sequoia National Forest campground (next to a river) for a total of $185, then drove to Lake Mead for 30 days at a total of $300, then two weeks in the Mojave National Preserve for a total of $105. So that’s $590 for two full months in campgrounds. Now that I have 4WD, there are places in all three where I can stay for free.
There are a lot of places in Anza Borrego State Park (which is huge) that you can just drive off the road and camp for free or other “designated” areas that are free too. But it is getting so crowded with snowbirds and full-timers, it wouldn’t surprise me if that changes.
Oh, by the way, I think a dinghy might be also called a “toad.”Jun 22, 2020 at 8:44 pm #3654449Jun 22, 2020 at 9:10 pm #3654453
Just make sure the fittings on the new RV are connected to low pressure LPG. Most made in the past 15 years are. If the line is connected after the LPG tank regulator, then it is low pressure.
Also make sure your quick connects are designed for LPG. The easiest source on the Web is Mr. Buddy. On our last two campers I bought braided steel covered hoses for the connections to our Baby Q, outside stove, and the Wave catalytic heaters. One of the better mods I have done.Jun 22, 2020 at 9:21 pm #3654455
Much appreciated Nick. Did you delete the regulator off of your Baby Q since it’s downstream of your on board regulator?Jun 22, 2020 at 9:27 pm #3654460
An update. Grilling burgers tonight and it’s never been better. The new regulator is adjustable. I saw temps as high as 500*f but throttled it back to where it sits at 400*f wide open.
I wish I did this 10 years ago
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